Park Geun-hye calls upon former rivals for assistance

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Park Geun-hye calls upon former rivals for assistance

Park Geun-hye, the presidential candidate for the ruling Saenuri Party, recruited yesterday a large number of senior politicians, including estranged allies and primary foes, and appointed them as chief campaign officials in the central election management committee.

Representative Lee Hahn-koo, the current floor leader of the party, and Kim Moo-sung, a predecessor of Lee, joined Park’s campaign headquarters yesterday as chief managers.

Park also recruited her primary rivals Ahn Sang-soo, Yim Tae-hee and Representative Kim Tae-ho as chief campaign managers.

Gyeonggi Governor Kim Moon-soo was unable to join right away as the National Election Commission informed him that his participation might be in violation of the election law.

Representatives Lee Hye-hoon, Shim Jae-chul, Chung Woo-taik, Yoo Ki-june and Kim Jin-sun, all members of the Supreme Council of the Saenuri Party, were also named yesterday as deputy chief managers. Representative Nam Kyung-pil, a reformist lawmaker, was also recruited as a deputy chief manager as well as Representative Yoo Seong-min.

The party’s secretary general, Suh Byung-soo, will act as the head of campaign headquarters and Kwon Young-se, a predecessor of Suh, will be in charge of situation monitoring.

Almost all appointments announced yesterday were of Saenuri officials or Park associates who served her primary campaign. The only person recruited from outside the party was Kim Chul-kyun, former new media secretary for the Blue House, named as head of the social networking service team.

The Park campaign is yet to appoint the chairman of the election management committee to oversee the entire campaign. The party said the appointments made yesterday were to begin work right away and more prominent figures from outside the party will be recruited to strengthen the campaign.

The appointment yesterday showed the return of Park’s estranged allies, former lawmaker Kim Moo-sung and Representative Yoo Seong-min. Both of them supported Park’s primary as close aides in 2007, but they became distant from Park after they challenged her decisions in the past.

After Kim protested Park’s move to keep the original plan of relocating most of the government offices to Sejong City in 2009, Kim was no longer associated with Park.

Their relationship, however, was restored after Kim declined to run in the April 11 legislative elections and prevented a possible exodus of disgruntled politicians from the party after they failed to win nominations under Park’s reform project. An economist with a reformist bent, Yoo is also considered one of the top strategists among the Park supporters.

Meanwhile, the Democratic United Party’s presidential candidate Moon Jae-in made a surprise move of recruiting Yoon Yeo-joon, a mentor of liberal independent contender Ahn Cheol-soo, and appointed him as the head of the national unity committee of his campaign.


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

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