(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with press briefing, more background info)
By Lee Chi-dong
SEOUL, June 21 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in nominated Kim Han-kyu, a lawyer and rookie politician, as his new secretary for political affairs Monday.
Having worked as a legal counsel for the ruling Democratic Party (DP), he is a lawyer at the Seoul-based law firm Kim & Chang and also a standing member of the National Unification Advisory Council. He graduated from Harvard Law School after studying law at Seoul National University.
Park Seong-min, another DP official who is 25 years old, was tapped as secretary for youth-related affairs, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Park Kyung-mee.
She has long handled youth-related issues at the party and is replacing Kim Kwang-jin, a 40-year-old former DP lawmaker.
Park, currently a student at Korea University, plans to take leave of absence from the school, and she will become Moon's youngest secretary at Cheong Wa Dae.
Moon's pick of Kim and Park is apparently part of the ruling bloc's efforts to win back support from voters in their 20s and 30s, who are called millennials and Generation Z. Kim, born in 1974, is relatively young for the key Cheong Wa Dae secretary job.
In the April 7 Seoul mayoral by-election, many of the MZ-generation people cast their ballots for Oh Se-hoon, the candidate of the conservative main opposition People Power Party (PPP), in a show of their displeasure with the liberal Moon administration's policies.
Earlier this month, the PPP elected Lee Jun-seok, a 36-year-old politician with no experience as a lawmaker, which observers say reflects the public's aspirations for a generational shift in the political circles. Lee studied at Harvard University.
The "Lee Jun-seok syndrome" has set alarm bells ringing, with the presidential election less than a year away, for the ruling party still dominated by the so-called 586-generation lawmakers who are in their 50s after studying at colleges in the 1980s.
Many agree that the DP has been negligent in grooming younger-generation star politicians like Lee.
Asked about the choice of Kim, who has not worked at the National Assembly, as secretary for political affairs, a Cheong Wa Dae official pointed out, "There is even the head of the opposition party without any experience at the National Assembly." Lee was defeated in three consecutive parliamentary elections.
The president, meanwhile, named Lee Seung-bok, an education ministry official, as secretary for education. Lee served as the ministry's spokesman.
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