Kim Jin-pyo elected as opposition floor leader

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Kim Jin-pyo elected as opposition floor leader

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Kim Jin-pyo

Representative Kim Jin-pyo, a second-term lawmaker and a former finance minister in the Roh Moo-hyun administration, was elected as the new floor leader of the Democratic Party.

Kim’s victory indicates a transformation of the main opposition party from a Jeolla-based political force to a centrist, pragmatic liberal group led by leaders from the Seoul region.

Kim competed against Representatives Lew Seon-ho and Kang Bong-kyun in a three-way race. In the first round of voting, Kim received 31 votes, falling short of a majority among the 83 lawmakers who cast ballots, while Lew and Kang each won 26 votes.

In a second round, which would determine the victor based on a plurality of votes, Kim received 36 votes to 35 for Kang and 11 for Lew.

A native of Suwon, Gyeonggi, Kim studied law at Seoul National University. He passed the civil service exam in 1973 and began his government career as a tax official. He later served key posts in the Finance Ministry, Prime Minister’s Office and the Blue House as a senior policy maker.

He was appointed finance minister and deputy prime minister in the Roh administration from 2003 to 2004.

In 2004, Kim was elected as a lawmaker representing Suwon. From 2005 to 2006, he was also education minister and deputy prime minister. In 2008, he was re-elected to the National Assembly.

“We must win the next legislative general election at all cost,” Kim said after he won the floor leader post yesterday. “To this end, we must win at least 50 of the 82 seats currently held by the Grand National Party in the capital region. I will also spread the tide of victory to Chungcheong, Gangwon and Gyeongsang regions.”

He also made clear that he will define the DP as the political party defending the interests of the working class. “I will make sure we will be different from the GNP. I will transform the DP into the ruling party.”

Kim’s victory, along with the leadership of Chairman Sohn Hak-kyu, could shed the DP’s image as a Jeolla-based political party. While Kim is a Suwon native, his rivals Lew and Kang were from Jeolla.

Kim is expected to unite the Democrats and end factional infighting. Last year, he was the campaign manager of Chung Sye-kyun, who lost to Sohn. But that didn’t stop Kim from campaigning hard for Sohn in the run-up to the April 27 by-election race in Bundang that Sohn won.

Reforming the party’s nomination system for next year’s legislative elections and forming a stronger alliance with the smaller liberal opposition parties ahead of the December 2012 presidential election are Kim’s main tasks.

Expectations are high for Kim’s ability to maintain good relations with the other liberal parties. During last year’s local elections, Kim competed against the People’s Participation Party’s Rhyu Si-min to become the liberal alliance’s candidate for the Gyeonggi governorship. Kim lost to Rhyu in the primary and graciously accepted his defeat, winning praise from the other liberal parties,

In the legislature, Kim will be the counterpart to newly elected GNP floor leader Hwang Woo-yea. With the GNP increasingly pursuing policies that have been previously championed by the liberals, including repealing a tax cut for the rich, there are expectations that Kim and Hwang could cooperate on some issues.

Attention will focus on how Kim will deal with thorny negotiations with the GNP over the ratification of the free trade agreement with the United States.

DP Chairman Sohn recently said his party would oppose the FTA since it favored the U.S. more under the revised deal reached last year.

“The FTA will only work when the interests of the two nations are balanced,” Kim said yesterday. “If we just ratify the deal as it is now, it will only reduce bilateral trade. That’s why we are demanding a renegotiation to correct Korea’s disadvantages.”

While the DP supports free trade in principle, the measures by the Lee Myung-bak administration to protect domestic sectors from the effects of the Korea-U.S. FTA are unsatisfactory, Kim said.

The confirmation hearings for six minister nominees appointed last week will be one of the first issues to be tackled by Kim.


By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [연합]
민주 원내대표에 김진표
한미 FTA 비준 등 갈등현안 산적
'총선서 수도권 50석 찾아올 것'
민주당은 13일 18대 국회의 마지막 원내대표로 김진표 의원을 선출했다.

김 의원은 이날 원내대표 경선에서 재투표까지 가는 접전 끝에 유효표 82표 가운데 36표를 획득, 강봉균(35표) 의원을 1표차로 제치고 당선됐다. 유선호 의원은 11표를 얻었다.

김 의원은 1차 투표에서 재적의원 과반수(44표)에 미달한 31표로 1위를 차지했으나 강, 유 두 의원이 똑같이 26표를 얻으면서 '2위 동점' 관련 규정 미비에 따라 세 후보 중 최다득표자가 당선되는 재투표가 실시됐다.

수원 태생으로 경복고와 서울법대를 졸업한 김 의원은 전형적인 엘리트 경제 관료 출신으로 김대중, 노무현 정부에서 재경부 차관과 청와대 정책기획수석, 국무조정실장, 경제, 교육 부총리를 지냈다.


그는 중도개혁 성향으로, 정책통답게 남다른 균형감각을 갖춘 인물로 평가받고 있어 4.27 재보선 패배를 계기로 감세 철회 등 정책 기조 변화에 나선 한나라당 황우여 원내대표와 건설적인 여야관계를 만들어갈지 주목된다.

손학규 대표와 호흡을 맞춰 공천개혁과 전국정당화 등 민주당의 혁신과 총선 전 야권통합을 이뤄내 정권 재탈환의 기반을 닦는 것도 그에게 주어진 막중한 과제다.

그러나 여야 간 최대 쟁점 현안인 한미 FTA(자유무역협정) 비준 문제와 이를 둘러싼 당내 계파 및 노선 갈등 등 안팎으로 난제가 산적해 있어 험로가 예상된다.

그는 당선 인사를 통해 "무슨 일이 있어도 내년 총선거에 승리해야 하며, 그러기 위해서는 수도권의 한나라당 의석 82석 중 적어도 50석 이상을 찾아오도록 노력하겠다"며 "승리의 돌풍을 충청권, 강원권, 영남권으로 확산하겠다"고 말했다.

정책 노선에 대해서는 "서민과 중산층을 위한 정당으로서 당의 정체성을 강화하고 한나라당과 확실한 차별화를 이뤄내겠다"며 "민주당을 확실한 수권정당, 대안정당으로 바꿔 놓겠다"고 밝혔다.

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