[Newsmaker] Park aide’s death resonates across politics
Published : Dec 3, 2012 - 20:45
Updated : Dec 3, 2012 - 21:27
Lee Choon-sang, a long-time aide to presidential candidate Park Geun-hye, died on the campaign trail Sunday. The demise of the little-known politician seems to resonate across political spectrum amid the presidential election frenzy, creating a solemn moment of self-reflection for many politicians in the country.

A vehicle carrying Lee and five other camp staffers hit a pole near Hongcheon, Gangwon Province, while heading for Chuncheon, a nearby city where Park was canvassing.

The deceased had been by Park’s side for 15 years, ever since the daughter of former President Park Chung-hee first gained her parliamentary seat representing Dalseong County in Daegu.

For this election, he worked for her online campaign strategy that included social networking service activities.
Lee Choon-sang, a long-time aide to presidential candidate Park Geun-hye, died on the campaign trail Sunday. (Yonhap News)

“I am so sorry. I have no words to offer you,” a tearful Park told Lee’s widowed wife at his funeral hall Sunday.

Later that day, the candidate confided her feelings on Twitter, which Lee used to manage on her behalf.

“My heart breaks for him who has selflessly and devotedly helped me for the past 15 years,” reads the rare tweet from Park herself. “At the funeral altar, I extend my gratitude for the past years and pray for his soul to rest in peace.”

Some seem to be particularly saddened by the fact that Lee passed away less than three weeks before the Dec. 19 election. The chances of Park becoming the president look brighter than ever, with polls giving her a slight but clear lead over opposition contender Moon Jae-in.

“Few would understand what it is like to be a secretary for someone,” Lim Jae-hyun, a long-time aide to President Lee Myung-bak wrote on his Facebook account, on the death of Lee, whom he has never spoken to.

“We have a dream, meet someone who can turn that into reality, and devote our life to help the boss realize the dream. Some are fortunate to see that dream finally come true, but most others are not,” the Cheong Wa Dae official said.

Park canceled her official schedule for two days on Monday, as her camp observed a period of mourning, refraining from songs and dances.

The Moon camp paused its offensive on the rival camp, while offering condolences to the family of the deceased.

By Lee Sun-young (