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3-term lawmaker Park Kwang-on elected new opposition party floor leader

April 28, 2023 - 15:33 By Son Ji-hyoung
Democratic Party of Korea floor leader-elect Rep. Park Kwang-on delivers an acceptance speech after the party general meeting held at the National Assembly on Friday. (Yonhap)

The main opposition Democratic Party of Korea elected Rep. Park Kwang-on as its new party floor leader at its general meeting of lawmakers on Friday.

Known for his dovish approach to balancing divisions within the party, the lawmaker representing the Suwon-jeong electoral district earned more than half of the total 169 votes of the Democratic Party lawmakers registered at the National Assembly. The election was among four candidates, with three viewed as being close aides of the outspoken party chair, Rep. Lee Jae-myung.

Park, 66, stressed the need for "bold change and solid integration" of the party in his acceptance speech.

Ahead of the new floor leader lies a tough road, as Lee faces criminal allegations including making false statements during the 2021-22 presidential campaign and over receiving kickbacks during the development of Daejang-dong, Seongnam, prosecutors claim. The party's campaign financing is also under the microscope, as prosecutors allege supporters of former party leader and lawmaker Song Young-gil doled out cash envelopes during the party convention in 2021.

Park is a three-term lawmaker of the center-left party. Born in Haenam, South Jeolla Province, he was formerly a broadcast journalist from 1984 until 2012.

Joining the party in 2012, Park served as the top secretary of Moon Jae-in, the former president who was then chair of the party.

Park was elected as a lawmaker in 2014, and has since assumed roles including party spokesperson, party secretary-general and chief of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee in the National Assembly.

Park is expected to be the fourth and last floor leader of the 21st session of the National Assembly to represent the Democratic Party, as the general election is a year away.

He succeeds three-term lawmaker Rep. Park Hong-keun in the position.