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Air, traffic, beauty lead Oh’s agenda

June 01,2006

Mayor-elect Oh Se-hoon at a study room for children from poor families in Sillim-dong, Seoul, yesterday. [YONHAP]

The mayor-elect of Seoul, Oh Se-hoon, promised yesterday that he would change the city’s landscape during his term of office. Mr. Oh buried his Uri rival in Wednesday’s election, winning over 60 percent of the votes in this city of 10 million.
Mr. Oh joined the race for the mayor’s office a bit late, in April, but had the advantage of good name recognition because of his past careers as a lawyer, National Assembly member and television personality. He ran a “polite” campaign as well, occasionally complimenting his rivals from the stump, and further burnished his “Mr. Clean” image.
So he’s in; now what? One of his most prominent campaign pledges was to renovate the dilapidated Sewoon shopping district in the central Seoul district of Jongno, part of a wider pledge to reshape the northern part of the city into something closer akin to the glittering districts south of the Han River. The day after the election, he renewed that promise to scrub Sewoon clean as soon as he takes office.
The redevelopment will not be welcomed by all; in particular, he will face resistance by merchants currently doing business there, who specialize in electric appliances and products. He promised to work closely with the existing tenants to ease the transition pain.
He has also pledged to clean up the city’s air pollution and give a boost to the old-style markets at Namdaemun and Dongdaemun. He says he wants to demolish Dongdaemun Stadium and improve the shopping districts in the area, which is adjacent to the renovated Cheonggye Stream, the centerpiece of the tenure of his predecessor, Lee Myung-bak.
Mr. Oh wants to spend 1 trillion won ($1.05 billion) to make Seoul’s air more breathable, and has proposed more public transportation, perhaps including monorails, to ease traffic congestion.


by Kang Joo-an, Chun Su-jin


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