Major parties to elect new floor leaders this week

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Major parties to elect new floor leaders this week

The two largest parties will this week elect new floor leaders, who will act as chief negotiators of the newly elected lawmakers of the 21st National Assembly.  
 
The ruling Democratic Party (DP) will hold its floor leadership election first on Thursday. Three representatives ? Reps. Kim Tae-nyeon, Jeon Hae-cheol and Jung Sung-ho ? declared their bids to represent the largest political party that won 163 seats in the general elections.  
 
Kim, who will start his fourth term as a lawmaker representing Sujeong District of Seongnam, Gyeonggi, is the chief of staff of DP Chairman Lee Jae-chan.  
 
Jung, representing Yangju, Gyeonggi, also won his fourth term last month. He was the chairman of the National Assembly’s planning and finance committee from 2018 till 2019. Sources from the DP said Jung is a candidate without a political faction.
 
Jeon, who will start his third term representing Sangnok A District of Ansan, Gyeonggi, is a close associate of President Moon Jae-in. Before becoming a lawmaker, he was former civil affairs secretary of the Roh Moo-hyun Blue House.  
 
Eighty-two votes are required to become the new floor leader of the DP. If none of the three candidates win the majority, a runoff election will take place to decide the winner.  
 
Of the 163 lawmakers-elect of the DP, 68 won their first term last month and their votes are expected to be crucial. On Wednesday, the DP will hold a joint speech session of the floor leader candidates and invite the first-term lawmakers-elect.  
 
The main opposition United Future Party (UFP) will hold its floor leader election on Friday. As of Monday, three lawmakers declared their bids. Reps. Joo Ho-young, Kim Tae-heum and Lee Myoung-su registered their candidacies, but more are likely to join the race as the deadline for applications is Wednesday.  
 
The new floor leader of the UFP will be tasked with determining how the largest opposition party will end the leadership vacuum. After its crushing defeat in the general elections, Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn stepped down to take responsibility.  
 
The current leadership, led by floor leader Shim Jae-cheol, pushed forward a plan to name Kim Chong-in, former chief campaign manager of the party, as an interim head. Kim, however, effectively turned down the offer that he leads the party for four months until the party elects a new chairman in August. Kim has previously said he is only interested in the job if he is given enough power and time to completely reinvent the party and prepare it for the next presidential election in March 2022.  
 
With the leadership plan up in the air, Rep. Shim said Thursday that his successor will decide how the party will be led in the future. The outgoing floor leader told the JoongAng Ilbo on Monday that he still believes in the plan to invite Kim by allowing him a year to reinvent the party. “When we are placed on an operating table, we need a surgeon from an outside hospital to operate on us,” he said. “You can’t operate on yourself.”  
 
Rep. Lee was reelected for his fourth term in Asan A of South Chungcheong. Rep. Kim was reelected for his third term to represent Boryeong and Seocheon of South Chungcheong. Rep. Joo won his fifth victory in Daegu’s Suseong B District.  
 
Cho Hae-jin and Kwon Young-se, both former lawmakers who will return to the legislature after scoring victories last month, are also expected to declare their bids for the floor leader election. Cho won his third legislative election victory in Milyang, Euiryeong, Haman and Changnyeong of North Gyeongsang. Kwon was elected in Yongsan District of Seoul to become a fourth-term lawmaker.  
 
“Some said a lawmaker representing a district in the capital region should join the race,” Kwon told the JoongAng Ilbo on Monday. “I will decide before Wednesday.”  
 
Cho also told the JoongAng Ilbo that he has a strong will to run in the floor leadership election.  
 
After each party elects its new floor leader, preparations to launch the 21st National Assembly will also begin. Lawmakers elected on April 15 will begin their terms on May 30. Ahead of the start, a seminar will take place for the first-term lawmakers on May 20.
  
According to the National Assembly, the first plenary session is scheduled for June 5 and the lawmakers will elect a National Assembly speaker and deputy speakers. A swearing-in ceremony will also take place during the first session.
  
On June 8, the lawmakers will be assigned to standing committees and each committee will elect its chairman.
 
BY SER MYO-JA   ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr  
 

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