New ruling party leader stresses unity on 1st day
SEOUL, March 9 (Yonhap) -- Kim Gi-hyeon, the new leader of the ruling People Power Party (PPP), called for party unity Thursday so as to support the government of Yoon Suk Yeol and win next year's elections on his first day of office.
Kim won 53 percent of the vote against three other rivals in the PPP's leadership race a day earlier. The PPP also elected five members to join the party's Supreme Council leadership committee.
The result was considered a victory for Yoon, because Kim has widely been known as Yoon's favorite who could help push forward Yoon's agenda in the parliament and strengthen his grip on the party.
"A year ago, our great people chose President Yoon Suk Yeol," Kim said in the opening remarks for the first Supreme Council meeting he presided over as party leader. Yoon was elected president in last year's March 9 election.
"On that meaningful day, the leadership of the PPP has also taken its first step," Kim said.
Kim called on other members of the leadership to work hard to strengthen the party's unity to win next year's parliamentary elections and help the Yoon administration succeed.
He also met with Yoon's senior secretary for political affairs, Lee Jin-bok, at the National Assembly.
"I will run the system so that the president can focus on state affairs and not worry about matters in the parliament or the party," Kim said.
He also pledged that the party will strive to better support Yoon in tackling livelihood issues.
Other members of the new PPP leadership echoed Kim's pledge.
PPP floor leader Joo Ho-young said the voter turnout for the leadership race, the highest-ever at 55 percent, reflects members' hope for the party to quickly stabilize and help lead the government to success.
"We are all a common destiny that move forward together for the success of the government of Yoon Suk Yeol," Kim Byung-min, a former presidential campaign spokesman elected to the Supreme Council, said.
The new leaders are set to meet Yoon at his office next week.
Opposition leader Lee Jae-myung, meanwhile, wrote a message on Facebook congratulating Kim on the win and promised to cooperate on matters involving livelihood.
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