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Head of UFP’s nomination committee resigns

Mar 13,2020
Kim Hyong-o, former National Assembly speaker who has been overseeing the nomination process of the largest opposition party, announced on Friday that he stepped down from the post, following controversy that a Moon Jae-in loyalist was given a nomination in a key Seoul district. [YONHAP]
The beleaguered nomination committee head of the conservative opposition United Future Party (UFP) stepped down from the post on Friday, following controversy that a Moon Jae-in loyalist was given a nomination in a key Seoul district.

In an urgent press conference, Kim Hyong-o, former National Assembly speaker who has been overseeing the nomination process of the largest opposition party, announced that the nomination committee has withdrawn its decision to field Kim Mi-kyun, a 33-year-old founder of a startup company, as a candidate of Seoul’s Gangnam C District in the April 15 general elections.

“Moreover, I will step down as the nomination committee chairman starting today to take all responsibility,” Kim said.

The UFP’s nomination committee named Kim Mi-kyun on Thursday as the sole candidate for Gangnam C of Seoul without a primary. The committee said she was a young, talented information and technology entrepreneur.

Immediately after the nomination, fierce complaints were made. The UFP members said she is unfit to represent the party in the general election because she was a devoted supporter of President Moon.

Chairman Kim said the committee members have worked hard. “Each and every member of the committee has excellent abilities, but I was unable to uphold all their will,” Kim said. “Sometimes, I made misjudgments.”

He said the committee worked hard to recruit new, talented political rookies. “But no matter how great a product is, it should appeal to a customer,” Kim said. “[The nomination of the committee] can be different from the voters’ taste. And I am ultimately responsible of the final judgment.”

He said Kim Mi-kyun is a talented rookie with a future. “I decided to step down, because it will be inappropriate for me to stay after recruiting her and then recanting the nomination,” he said.

He also dismissed the criticism that he was nominating his allies. “When I work hard to recruit the talents, they are labeled as my allies,” Kim said. “When I nominate veteran politicians, they are called obsolete.”

Stressing the integrity of the nomination committee, Kim said he hopes the UFP will continue uniting the conservatives.

Lee Suk-yeon, vice chairman of the nomination committee, will act as the leader to complete the candidate selection process.

According to Lee, Kim Mi-kyun had first contacted the ruling Democratic Party (DP) to start a political career by getting a nomination for the April general elections. “We knew about it,” said Lee. “But we decided that we should compromise such past for her talents and nominated her. But it appeared that her past was more serious than we had thought.”

Dating back years, her Facebook account had series of postings praising Moon. Before the May 2017 presidential election, she even posted a message to endorse Moon.

After the controversy erupted, she held a press conference Friday morning to defend her actions. “Although I was called a Moon loyalist, I never was,” she said. “I tried to communicate with politics as an entrepreneur. I never strongly backed anyone.”

Her explanation, however, was not enough to keep the nomination. Thirty minutes later, then Nomination Committee Chairman Kim held the press conference announcing the decision to take away her candidacy and then resigned.

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]



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