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(LEAD) Main opposition selects its former election campaign chief as new interim leader

Politics 18:14 May 22, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES with development in paras 4-6; CHANGES photo)

SEOUL, May 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's main opposition party, straining to shake off last month's crushing electoral defeat, on Friday elected its former election campaign chief as interim leader, hoping to restructure and resuscitate itself.

Kim Chong-in, who steered the conservative United Future Party (UFP) during the election campaign for the April 15 parliamentary elections, was chosen with overwhelming support to be the new interim leader during a meeting of the party's lawmaker-elects, according to Rep. Joo Ho-young, the party's floor leader.

The lawmaker-elects also agreed to retain the emergency leadership till the by-elections on April 7 next year, Joo said.

Kim, later in the day, accepted the leadership post.

"I will pour all my power to reviving the party and the country," he told reporters after meeting Joo in his office. "I am determined to work with utmost efforts to bring the party back on track during the given period."

Kim served five National Assembly terms and led the ruling Democratic Party's emergency leadership committee in 2016.

After losing big in the general elections, the main opposition party has sought to form an emergency leadership body to salvage and reform the party.

Kim, once in power again, may also control another opposition party, Future Korea Party, a satellite entity of UFP that was created as part of an election strategy.

Holding a meeting of senior members on the same day, the Future Korea Party resolved to pursue a merger with the umbrella party before the opening of the National Assembly's new term on May 30.

Kim Chong-in shakes hands with United Future Party floor leader Rep. Joo Ho-young in his office in Seoul on May 22, 2020, after accepting the post as the head of the party's emergency leadership body. (Yonhap)

pbr@yna.co.kr
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