The ruling Saenuri Party on Tuesday elected Rep. Lee Jung-hyun as its new leader, marking the first time for a politician from the country's liberal-leaning southwestern Honam region to take the helm of the conservative party.
The third-term lawmaker was elected at the party's national convention in Seoul that also picked five members of the decision-making Supreme Council.
Lee, who represents Suncheon, South Jeolla Province, is one of the only two Saenuri Party lawmakers from the Honam region where progressive opposition parties have traditionally held greater sway.
Lee's resounding victory is expected to bolster the influence of the party faction closely affiliated with President Park Geun-hye. Lee served as Park's chief secretary for political affairs between March and June 2013, and for public affairs between June 2013 and June 2014. (Yonhap)