(profile) PM nominee Kim Boo-kyum: trailblazing icon of anti-regionalist politics
By Chang Dong-woo
SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- Kim Boo-kyum, President Moon Jae-in's new pick for prime minister, is a rare icon in South Korean politics recognized for his life-long dedication to the fight against deeply-entrenched regionalist politics.
The former four-term lawmaker served as the first interior minister of the Moon government from 2017-2019.
Hailing from Sangju, a southeastern city near Daegu that is a traditional stronghold of the conservative main opposition People Power Party (PPP), the 63-year-old was a hard-line student activist who fought against the country's military dictatorship before he entered politics.
He was arrested in 1977 for leading a protest against the Yushin Constitution introduced by then-President Park Chung-hee, a military dictator and father of ousted President Park Geun-hye, which enabled the elder Park to remain in office until he was assassinated by his intelligence chief in 1979.
Kim entered politics in 1988 and won his first seat in the National Assembly in 2000 in an electoral district in Gunpo, Gyeonggi Province, as a candidate of the Grand National Party (GNP), the predecessor of the PPP. He joined the then ruling liberal Uri Party as an inaugural member after bolting from the GNP in July 2003 and went on to secure two more terms as a lawmaker representing the district in Gunpo.
In 2012, he became the first supreme council member of the Democratic Party hailing from Daegu and its surrounding North Gyeongsang region in 40 years.
His career is highlighted by a landmark parliamentary win in Daegu in 2016, which marked the first campaign win by a major liberal candidate there in 45 years. It was Kim's first victory in the conservative city after two straight campaign failures there.
In the last presidential election, Kim served as one of the chief campaign managers for Moon.
He ran for a parliamentary seat in Daegu last year as a candidate of the liberal ruling party but was defeated by Joo Ho-young, current floor leader of the PPP.
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