Seoul, Jun 11 (EFE).- Lee Jun-seok, 36, was elected Friday as the new leader of the main opposition bloc in South Korea, the conservative People’s Power Party (PPP), becoming the youngest person to preside one of the two main political groups in the country.
The victory has been a surprise both for his youth and for being someone who has not even managed to win a seat in parliament so far, but who has defeated other rivals in his party to achieve the leadership, such as veteran former parliamentary speaker Na Kyung-won.
Lee, who unsuccessfully ran in 2016 and 2018 to win a parliamentary seat, has won 43.8 percent of the votes in the PPP convention, compared to 37.1 percent for Na, who has been the second-most voted candidate.
Lee’s election comes just nine months before the next presidential elections are held, to which the young politician already said at the time that he wanted to attend, although it remains to be seen if the bases will give him the support he needs to become the PPP’s presidential candidate.
After his victory, his first words made reference to these elections of 2022.
“Our main task is to win the presidential elections. I will work to build a party in which several presidential candidates and their respective supporters can coexist,” Lee said in statements collected by local news agency Yonhap.
After graduating from Harvard in Economics and Computer Science in 2007, Lee was personally chosen by Park Geun-hye in 2011 to join the Conservative Party as part of a Conservative Party reform committee.
Park would become president in 2013 and Lee was one of her main detractors when the corruption scandal that ended his term in 2017 was uncovered and would earn her a 20-year prison sentence.
Lee has built his campaign by appealing to members of the male electorate in their 20s and 30s, a niche that he considers to be underrepresented in the country due to the attention he claims the feminist movement is receiving.
Lee is a known critic of gender quotas and has compared radical feminism to terrorism.
Local analysts see Lee’s victory as a wake-up call to the old guard of the Conservative Party ahead of the presidential elections in March. EFE