Nine to run in leadership election for Saenuri

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Nine to run in leadership election for Saenuri

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Nine contenders for Saenuri Party leadership posts pose yesterday before a TV debate at an SBS studio in Seoul. From right, Lee Hye-hoon, Hwang Woo-yea, Kim Gyeong-an, Hong Moon-jong, Won Yoo-chul, Kim Tae-heum, Yoo Ki-june, Shim Jae-chul and Chung Woo-taik. [YONHAP]


Ahead of its national convention next week to elect a new leadership, the ruling Saenuri Party has finalized its nine candidates following a cutoff round.

Eleven politicians have declared bids to join the conservative ruling party’s leadership, which will run the party in the crucial months leading to the December presidential election. After a survey of 8,934 delegates on Saturday, nine of the 11 advanced to the leadership election scheduled for next Tuesday.

Representatives Hwang Woo-yea, Shim Jae-chul, Won Yoo-chul, Yoo Ki-june and Lee Hye-hoon and lawmakers-elect Chung Woo-taik, Hong Moon-jong and Kim Tae-heum as well as Kim Gyeong-an, head of the Iksan A chapter of North Jeolla Province, will compete in the elections.

Starting yesterday, the nine contenders participated in a series of TV debates.

The three major broadcasters held a joint program yesterday, and the contenders also participate in the “100-minute Debate” on MBC today.

At next week’s convention, the Saenuri Party will elect a new chairman and four members on the Supreme Council. Representative Lee, a key Park Geun-hye loyalist, was confirmed to be elected because she is the sole female contender in the race, where one seat is secured for a woman.

Representative Hwang, a five-term lawmaker who served as floor leader over the past year, was seen as the frontrunner in the race to become chairman, as Park loyalists were known to support him.

Representative Yoo, a three-term lawmaker and head of the party’s Busan chapter, is also a Park loyalist and the only candidate representing Gyeongsang, and observers said his chance to join the Supreme Council would be high.

Ahead of next week’s election, the Saenuri Party will also elect its new floor leader and chief policy maker tomorrow. Representatives Nam Kyung-pil, Lee Ju-young and Lee Hahn-koo are running to become the new floor leader to control the newly-elected 150 lawmakers of the conservative ruling party in the upcoming National Assembly.

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

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