Power shift in GNP leadership

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Power shift in GNP leadership


Hong Joon-pyo reacts yesterday after being elected GNP chairman. [YONHAP]

Representative Hong Joon-pyo, a four-term lawmaker and former prosecutor, was elected yesterday as the new chairman of the Grand National Party at the party’s national convention in Olympic Gymnastics Arena, southeastern Seoul.

He now faces the significant task of steering the ruling party in the politically crucial months before next year’s legislative and presidential elections.

Representatives Yoo Seong-min, Na Kyung-won, Won Hee-ryong and Nam Kyung-pil were also elected members of the GNP Supreme Council, the party’s highest decision-making body.

As the new chairman, Hong is able to name two more Supreme Council members.

“I see my victory as the Grand Nationals’ wish to unite the party and win next year’s legislative and presidential elections,” Hong said in his acceptance speech. “The GNP must be reborn as the true conservative party. I will begin my reform now.”

The 57-year-old lawmaker representing Seoul’s Dongdaemun B District is known inside the GNP as an outsider because he has stayed away from the ruling party’s two main factions supporting former party chairwoman Park Geun-hye and President Lee Myung-bak.

While he has stayed out of mainstream politics, Hong is a familiar face for his achievement in 1993 of leading the prosecution’s vigorous investigation into corrupt politicians and the country’s casino industry.

Throughout his political career, Hong has used his strengths to attack opposition parties and he did not hesitate to criticize Lee and Park.

By winning the chairmanship, Hong, who ran in the presidential primary in 2007, is giving up any ambition of running in next year’s presidential election - the GNP constitution forbids a presidential candidate from running for the party chair.

“This is the era of Park Geun-hye,” Hong said. “I want to complement her, not replace her.”

A native of South Gyeongsang, Hong passed the bar exam in 1982. He left the prosecution in 1996 to join the New Korea Party - the predecessor to the GNP - to begin his political career. He won his first legislative election that year.


With yesterday’s election, the Grand National Party will be run by a leadership younger than that of the past. The average age of the five new leaders is 50.2, far lower than the 55.6 of the leadership elected in last year’s national convention.

Among the last Supreme Council members, Na Kyung-won was the only member in her 40s, but three out of the five new leaders are in their 40s.

The new leadership will be responsible for politically significant roles overseeing the nominations for the April 2012 legislative elections and December 2012 presidential election.

Of the five new leaders, Yoo is known as a prominent member of the Park Geun-hye faction. Won was largely backed by the Lee Myung-bak faction. Their harmony is seen as a major task for the GNP’s effort to end factionalism. The two are known for working together in 2000 to support Lee Hoi-chang, then the GNP’s chairman.

In the aftermath of the GNP’s April 27 by-election defeat, all members of the GNP Supreme Council, including the chairman, resigned to take responsibility for the defeat. Representative Hwang Woo-yea, elected in May as the party’s new floor leader, has been the acting chairman until yesterday.

Along with Hwang’s liberal-leaning policies, new Supreme Council members Yoo and Nam are expected to accelerate the conservative ruling party’s drift to the left. During the chairmanship election, the two candidates already presented strong working-class friendly policies, including a significant tuition cut and free school and child-care programs.

Hong, the new chairman, is relatively conservative in comparison to the party’s reformists, including Hwang. During the chairmanship race, Hong said working-class policy should be implemented while taking into account the budget.

Under the new election rules, a nationwide poll of 200,000 Grand Nationals took place Sunday, while a two-day public opinion poll, which counts 30 percent of the total votes, wrapped up yesterday.

Of the 8,881 delegates who were to cast ballots at the national convention, 5,271 actually took part in the event. The delegates were given two ballots in order to dilute the party’s perennial factionalism, which allowed candidates to make a personal choice without potential repercussions.

At the event, GNP floor leader Hwang also urged the Grand Nationals to end the party’s wasteful tradition of factionalism.

“This time, we must unite,” he said. “We must win the next general and presidential elections.”

Although the GNP approved an amendment to its constitution to increase convention voters from 10,000 to 210,000, the turnout of the Sunday’s nationwide voting was only 25.9 percent, making the delegates’ voting at the convention more important than ever.

The event began at 2 p.m. and the atmosphere heated up as the seven candidates took turns addressing the voters and making their final pitches.

And it wasn’t just GNP members at the convention. Kim Hyo-jae, the president’s senior political secretary, secretaries general of the Democratic Party and the Liberty Forward Party and diplomats from 44 countries attended.

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

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]
한나라당 ‘친박 시대’

새 대표에 “박근혜” 외친 홍준표
친박 유승민, 예상 깨고 2위 돌풍
최고위원 중 친이는 원희룡 1명뿐
지난 5월 6일 실시된 한나라당 원내대표 경선에 이어 7·4 전당대회에서도 권력이동이 일어났다.

친이명박계가 당을 장악했던 시절 비주류를 자처했던 홍준표(57·서울 동대문을·4선) 의원이 내년 4월 총선을 책임질 한나라당의 새 대표로 선출됐다. 친박근혜계의 유일 후보였던 유승민(53·대구 동을·재선) 의원은 2위로 최고위원에 당선됐다.

홍 대표의 경우 상당수 친박계 의원의 지지가 있었기에 1위를 차지할 수 있었다. 홍 대표는 그간 “ 박근혜 시대다. 나는 박근혜의 보완재가 되겠다”고 말해 왔다. 반면 친이명박계 핵심들이 적극 지원했던 원희룡 의원은 4위로 최고위원에 당선됐다.

 이로써 한나라당을 이끌 새 지도부에 입성한 친이계는 원희룡 의원이 유일하다. 3위를 차지한 나경원 최고위원은 경선 과정에서 ‘친이계 후보’라는 꼬리표 달기를 거부했다. 5위로 지도부에 입성한 남경필 최고위원은 친이계와 대립각을 세워 온 신주류 소장파의 리더로 이번 경선에서 일부 친박계와 손잡았다. 4·27 재·보궐선거 패배로 물러난 안상수 전 대표 체제에서 친박계 최고위원이 서병수 의원뿐이었던 점과 비교하면 한나라당에선 이제 다른 세상이 열린 것이다. 한 고위 당직자는 “이번 경선 결과 유 최고위원이 바람을 일으켜 2위를 차지했고, 홍 대표도 친박계 도움으로 당 대표가 된 만큼 친박계가 사실상 당 권력을 장악한 것으로 봐도 무방하다”고 말했다.

4일 오후 서울 잠실 올림픽체조경기장에서 열린 한나라당 전당대회에서 홍준표 대표는 4만1666표(25.5%), 유승민 최고위원은 3만2157표(19.7%)를 획득했다. 이어 나경원(2만9722표)·원희룡(2만9086표)·남경필(1만4896표) 최고위원 순으로 지도부에 입성했다. 한나라당 경선 결과는 선거인단 투표(70%, 1인2표)와 여론조사(30%)를 합한 것이다.

 홍 대표는 당선 수락 연설에서 “한나라당의 첫 개혁 과제는 계파 타파”라며 “내년 총선까지만이라도 계파 없이 당을 운영하고 대선 후보 경선할 때 계파 진영으로 돌아가 일하도록 하겠다”고 말했다. 유 최고위원은 “역대 어느 지도부보다 팀워크가 훌륭한 지도부를 만들어 위기에 빠진 당을 같이 구하겠다”고 말했다. 이번 경선 결과에 대해 명지대 윤종빈(정치학) 교수는 “홍 대표가 ‘박근혜 보완재론’으로 친박계의 덕을 많이 봤고, 친박계인 유 의원이 2위를 해 앞으로 홍 대표가 박 전 대표의 입장을 고려하며 당을 이끌 걸로 보인다”며 “이제 당내에서 박 전 대표의 영향력은 갈수록 커질 게 틀림없다”고 분석했다.
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