A close presidential confidant, Ahn comes with wealth of legislative experience

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A close presidential confidant, Ahn comes with wealth of legislative experience

The ruling party's new leader is a veteran politician who can count on strong backing from President Lee Myung-bak.

The former prosecutor and four-term lawmaker of the ruling Grand National Party (GNP), Ahn Sang-soo is credited for the party's victories in the 2007 presidential race and the 2008 parliamentary elections the following year, when he served as floor leader.

He rose to fame as a star prosecutor when he dug into the tragic death of student activist Park Jong-cheol, who died during police interrogation. The death ignited the June 1987 democratic uprising by citizens, which later put an end of the military dictatorship of President Chun Doo-hwan who tried to hand over power to another general.

Ahn, 64, made his political debut when he was elected as a legislator of the conservative party in 1996. He has since won three consecutive parliamentary elections in Gwacheon and Uiwang, Gyeonggi Province, where he resides.

During his years in the parliament, Ahn served as a spokesman, special assistant to the party chairman and twice as floor leader, from 2007-2008 and 2009-2010.

He is known to be one of the closest confidants of President Lee, fiercely protesting the state intelligence agency gathering information on the then presidential candidate, as well as the prosecution's investigation into Lee's alleged illegal real estate speculation.

A native of Masan, South Gyeongsang Province, Ahn graduated from Seoul National University School with a degree in law. [Yonhap]
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