SEOUL, June 11 (Yonhap) -- Rival political forces of the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) on Friday congratulated Lee Jun-seok on becoming the leader of the PPP, expressing hopes that the young new chairman could usher transformational change into mainstream politics.
Lee, 36, was elected chairman of the People Power Party (PPP) earlier in the day, becoming the youngest-ever leader of a mainstream party in modern South Korean politics.
Political circles unanimously praised Lee's victory, expressing hopes that the new chairman could serve as an agent of change in today's confrontational brinkmanship politics.
Rep. Lee So-young, spokesperson of the ruling Democratic Party (DP), said that the party welcomes "the change of conservatives" and noted that the victory of a young politician in a party where 70 percent of registered members are over 50 will present a sense of new hope and tension throughout politics.
DP Chairman Rep. Song Young-gil lauded Lee's win and expressed hoped that it would serve as a turning point in the PPP "crossing the river of impeachment" of former President Park Geun-hye and transform into a force of reasonable conservatism.
According to Lee, Song also proposed holding regular meetings with Lee going forward.
Potential presidential hopefuls also applauded Lee's election.
"(PPP) members and supporters have made an enormous decision," Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung, a leading hopeful for next year's presidential race, wrote on Facebook.
The governor added that Lee's ascent was also in effect the public's referendum on conventional politics. "Again, I'm keenly aware of the wrath of the public's sentiment."
DP Rep. Park Ju-min wrote on social media in response to Lee's win, saying that "the people's anticipation towards new movements and new politics was very big." Rep. Noh Woong-rae also hoped that Lee's election would serve as "an opportunity to upgrade the discourse of politics across the spectrum.
The minor progressive Justice Party praised Lee for his victory and expressed hope for "reform and dynamism towards a new deal of conservatism."
Justice Party spokesperson Lee Dong-young said that the party hopes for a parliamentary relationship with the PPP that "brings about agreed upon change and ensures political pluralism."
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