Minister resigning to run in governor election

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Minister resigning to run in governor election

The minister for public administration and security has offered to resign to run for governor of South Gyeongsang in the local elections slated for June 2, government officials said yesterday.

President Lee Myung-bak was scheduled to accept Minister Lee Dal-gon’s resignation late yesterday, according to aides at the Blue House.

“Minister Lee is scheduled to hold a resignation ceremony at 5 p.m. today,” a ministry spokesman said.

Under current election law, yesterday was the deadline for all public-office holders seeking to run in the local elections to resign.

Lee is thought to have made the decision to run for governor at the recommendation of President Lee and the ruling Grand National Party.

A native of Changwon, South Gyeongsang, the minister joined the Grand Nationals after becoming a lawmaker on proportional representation. He served on President Lee’s transition team in early 2008.

Lee graduated from Seoul National University in 1977 and received his master’s degree in public administration in 1981. He earned his doctorate in political science from Harvard University, according to his aide.

With the local elections less than three months away, rival political parties have been stepping up their campaigns. Many see the poll as a referendum on the Lee administration.

About 4,000 seats are up for grabs in the coming elections, including gubernatorial and mayoral posts, as well as provincial and city councilors and regional education superintendents.

Official candidates are required to register for the elections May 18-19, with the formal campaign period to begin on May 20, according to the National Election Commission.

The results of the nationwide elections, the first since President Lee took office two years ago, are expected to serve as a crucial litmus test of public sentiment toward the conservative government and a prelude to parliamentary elections and the presidential poll slated for 2012. Yonhap

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