The five-time lawmaker of the ruling party won one of the toughest races on Wednesday, beating his rival and NPAD candidate Kim Jin-pyo by a margin of less than 1 percent.
The former deputy floor leader has been considered one of the few innovative members of the Saenuri Party, along with Won Hee-ryong, the newly elected governor of Jejudo Island, and former Culture Minister Choung Byoung-gug.
Born in 1965 in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province, Nam attended Yonsei University before working as a journalist at Kyeongin Ilbo, a Gyeonggi-based newspaper owned by his late father.
After three years of working as a social affairs and politics writer, Nam left for the U.S. to obtain his MBA degree from the Yale School of Management.
He entered politics in 1998 at age 32, after his father and lawmaker Nam Pyung-woo suddenly died. He took his late father’s post as councilor of Suwon’s Paldal-gu by winning the by-elections that year.
Some of Nam’s main campaign pledges concern public safety and economic development. The April 16 sinking of the ferry Sewol killed more than 240 high school students living in the Gyeonggi industrial town of Ansan.
“If Gyeonggi changes, I am sure Korea will change too,” Nam said after learning of his victory. “I will do my best to reform Gyeonggi with the goodwill of those who supported me, as well as those who didn’t.”
By Claire Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)