The ruling Saenuri Party is looking to a young lawmaker in his 20s to run against popular software tycoon Ahn Cheol-soo in a by-election in Seoul's Nowon district in April.
Shortly after Ahn announced his candidacy on Sunday, a high-ranking Saenuri Party member phoned Lee Jun-seok (28), an entrepreneur and the youngest member of an emergency committee in the ruling party, to ask if he would take on the formidable opponent.
The Saenuri Party apparently conducted a survey to find out whether Lee stands a chance, hoping that a fresh face will sap some of Ahn's appeal to younger voters disaffected with traditional politics. "We will be able to respond to Ahn Cheol-soo's 'new politics' with Lee Jun-seok's 'young politics,'" a party official claimed.
Lee told the Chosun Ilbo, "I think the party is talking about that because I spent most of my childhood in Nowon." "I got many phone calls about the prospect, but I'm not thinking too much about it yet," he added.
Lee was picked by President Park Geun-hye to join the emergency committee at the end of 2011 tasked with reinvigorating the party. He has kept himself busy since the emergency committee finished its mission and even hosted a TV program.