Governor-elect plans opposition allianceSouth Chungcheong Governor-elect An Hee-jung said he will form a joint regional alliance with opposition-party mayors and governors in Gangwon, Gwangju, Incheon, North and South Chungcheong and South Gyeongsang in an effort to force President Lee Myung-bak to retract or reconsider his flagship projects.
“If President Lee Myung-bak doesn’t accept the public sentiment shown by the votes in the June 2 local elections, he will become very miserable,” An said Saturday. “Voters have expressed their opposition to the four rivers restoration and Sejong City projects. The press asks me how I’ll act, but I will determine my course of action depending on how he reacts to the public sentiment.”
An said newly elected governors from the Democratic, Democratic Labor, Liberty Forward and other parties will act together to make their voices heard in the administration. Among his allies are North Chungcheong Governor-elect Lee Si-jong of the DP and Daejeon Mayor-elect Yum Hong-chul of the Liberty Forward Party, both of whom oppose Lee’s four rivers project and his plan to downgrade the redevelopment of Sejong City from a new administrative city to a business, science and education hub.
The leaders governing the Chung-cheong provinces will meet tomorrow at 2 p.m. in front of the Multifunctional Administrative City Construction Agency in South Chungcheong, which manages the Sejong City project, to read a joint request that Lee withdraw his Sejong City revisions.
“We will urge [the Lee Myung-bak administration] to push the original Sejong City project and not the revised version, as the results of the election clearly reflect the wishes of Chung-cheong residents,” An said. “This is at the top of our agenda because it is the most hotly debated issue here.”
In addition, An said South Gyeong-sang Governor-elect Kim Du-kwan, South Jeolla Governor Park Joon-young, and Gwangju Mayor-elect Kang Woon-tae will act on public concerns about the four rivers project.
“We will soon demand the government completely halt and review the project,” An said.
Woo Ui-yeong, a spokesman for the minor opposition Democratic Labor Party, said a plan to establish cooperation between the local governments will take shape when the newly elected mayors and provincial governors are sworn into office on July 1.
The Sejong City project was originally proposed by Roh Moo-hyun when he was a presidential candidate in 2002. The initial blueprint called to relocate government offices to Sejong City in South Chungcheong. Lee, Roh’s successor, ignited controversy last year by announcing that the program would foster government inefficiency. Lee’s proposal to rewrite the plan to create a self-sufficient science, education and business hub met fierce protest from Chungcheong residents and opposition parties.
Meanwhile, after their success in banding together with minor opposition parties to defeat the ruling Grand National Party in the June 2 elections, winners from the Democratic Party said they will include members of the opposition parties in their local government transition teams.
Gangwon Governor-elect Lee Kwang-jae - who beat his GNP opponent after Democratic Labor Party candidate Eom Jae-cheol threw his resources behind Lee’s bid - plans to include DLP members in his transition team and work with them to structure policies to run the region. Separately, DP floor leader Park Jie-won said his party will set up a committee for local governments to “serve as a bridge that coordinates policy between the party, local council, and local governments.”
By Kim Mi-ju, Kang Min-seok [firstname.lastname@example.org]