October 04, 2010 11:44
Sohn Hak-kyu was elected chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party at a national party convention on Sunday. Sohn garnered 11,904 or 21.37 percent of the votes, beating former presidential candidate and one-time unification minister Chung Dong-young, who got 10,776 votes or 19.35 percent, and Chung Sye-kyun, who got 10,256 or 18.41 percent.
Although Sohn defection from the Grand National Party was seen as a weakness, one key DP official said Sohn was a strategic choice to give the party a nationwide appeal and shed its regional characteristics to increase its chance in the 2012 presidential election.
The DP throughout its various incarnations has had its support base mainly in southwestern Korea -- the Jeolla Provinces -- but Sohn is not a native of the region.
Sunday's election is likely to change the power dynamics in the party substantially as Chung Sye-kyun, who was regarded as the favorite, finished third, and his protege Choi Jae-sung did not make the cut, while candidates outside mainstream -- Chung Dong-young, Chun Jung-bae and Park Joo-sun -- performed well and made it to the party's supreme council.
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