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Left-wing media chief to lead opposition reforms

June 5, 2023 - 15:19 By Lee Jung-youn
Lee Rae-kyung, the honorary chair of progressive non-profit media platform The Tomorrow. (Yonhap)

The main opposition Democratic Party of Korea has appointed Lee Rae-kyung, the honorary chair of progressive non-profit media platform The Tomorrow, as the head of the new committee launched to renew and innovate the party.

Party leader Rep. Lee Jae-myung announced at a Supreme Council meeting held at the National Assembly Monday that Lee Rae-kyung will be in charge of leading the party's new innovation committee.

"We will leave all decisions, such as the names and roles of new innovative organizations, to the new organization. Party leadership will fully respect and accept the reform plan prepared by the organization," said Rep. Lee.

He also urged encouragement from the public, saying, "We expect many people to join us us in creating a new and bigger Democratic Party of Korea -- the party that is trusted by the people.”

Born in 1954, Lee, who will now lead the reform of one of the biggest political parties in Korea, is a student activist-turned-businessperson who has actively supported Korea's civil society movements.

He entered Seoul National University's department of metal engineering in 1973, receiving his honorary diploma in 1996, as he was expelled twice for participating in the democracy movement as a student.

He is also the standing co-chair of the Sovereign National Assembly, a progressive civic group that was founded out of the candlelight movement of 2016-17 to continue the democratic reforms called for by the movement.

Lee is considered part of the pro-Lee Jae-myung faction, but he expressed his determination to make changes the party through a phone call with Yonhap saying, "I'll also cut out Rep. Lee Jae-myung at any time with a whip if he makes mistakes," Monday.

The Democratic Party of Korea, which this spring has been hit with the allegation of having distributed illicit political funds during the 2021 party convention and controversy over whether Rep. Kim Nam-kuk not reporting his early 2022 cryptocurrency holdings and disposal was unethical, reached an internal agreement to launch the committee to renovate the party and strengthen democratization.