Sejong City’s elected officials vary in background

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Sejong City’s elected officials vary in background

Sejong City, the country’s new administrative capital in South Chungcheong, now has its first mayor, education office head, and parliamentary representative.

What’s interesting people after the general elections on Wednesday is that the three elected officials are inclined to different political backgrounds.

The city’s mayor is Yu Han-sik of the Liberty Forward Party, its representing lawmaker is Lee Hae-chan of the Democratic United Party, and its superintendent Shin Jeong-gyun is a conservative.

Now all eyes are on whether or not the city will be able to create harmony while managing the 96,000 residents.

Sejong City was of much interest to the nation even before the elections started, especially among those who moved there from nearby areas with hope that the city would become a popular administrative mini capital like Washington, D.C.

Reflecting the interest, of the city’s 80,000 eligible voters, 59.2 percent went to polling stations on Wednesday to select their first-ever city representatives. Sejong City’s voter turnout was the highest, well exceeding the national average turnout of 54.3 percent.

Starting the second half of this year, 16 ministries, including the Prime Minister’s Office and 20 affiliated institutions, will relocate themselves from Seoul to South Chungcheong until 2014.

Lawmaker Lee’s term will be four years while Superintendent Shin and Mayor Yu will have two years each until the local elections take place in 2014. Their tenure begins this July.

Observers note that Sejong City residents made strategic votes as they did not support a particular political party.

They say that the residents picked a renowned political figure as the city’s lawmaker and a Chungcheong native for the other two posts.

Lawmaker Lee is a former prime minister as well as former education minister during the Roh Moo-hyun administration.

On the other hand, Mayor Yu was born in Yeongi County, South Chungcheong, and spent all his life there, and took on the role as county governor. As for Shin, he spent 35 years of his 42 years of teaching career in Yeongi.

There are concerns, however, that their different political backgrounds will make it difficult when it comes to policy.

Lee is a liberal while the city’s mayor and superintendent are conservatives.

By Kim Bang-hyun, Lee Eun-joo []
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