중앙데일리

Kim Starts Party Shake-Up

Dec 20,2000
Former Chief of Staff Gets Chairmanship; President Has 3 More Top Vacancies to Fill

Starting his party shake-up in earnest, President Kim Dae-jung named Tuesday his former chief of staff Kim Joong-kwon as party chairman. The move is seen as the start of his attempt to renew the party's top leadership and revive its declining support.

The appointment of Kim Joong-kwon comes in the wake of resignations by the party's two senior leaders including the leader of the most dominant faction. Kwon Roh-kap gave up his supreme council membership last Sunday and Chairman Suh Young-hoon resigned Monday.

"The party is to be run by the chairman and Rep. Hahn Hwa-kap, who is the leader of the younger group within the "Donggyo-dong" faction," a ruling party insider said on condition of anonymity.

The president's choice of a native of the Kyongsang region as party chairman, and the likely filling of other managerial positions with younger members of the "Donggyo-dong" faction, is designed to surmount the deep regional divide in the country and to put the party on a more effective nation-wide footing as he enters the second half of his five-year term.

The regional divide refers specifically to an embedded antagonism between the Kyongsang and the Cholla provinces and cronyism in the political arena

Mr. Kim is the first South Korean president to come from the Cholla region. But like all leading politicians in Korea, Mr. Kim enjoys substantial clout as the chief of a faction - in his case, the "Donggyo-dong" faction - which has supported him for the past three decades and which was run by Mr. Kwon.

The start of party shake up follows calls from both within the party and from a public discontent with the Kim Dae-jung administration.

Incumbent Secretary-General Kim Ok-doo has already expressed his intention to resign along with Assembly floor leader Chung Kyun-hwan.

The chief policy maker position is vacant as the president has promoted Rep. Lee Hai-chan to the supreme council.

Candidates to fill these three major posts are emerging, but have not been confirmed.

The Millennium Democratic Party is expected to approve the appointment of Kim Joong-kwon as chairman, and Rep. Lee Hai-chan as supreme council member at a party meeting Wednesday.

by Kim Ji-soo




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