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Opposition leader Hwang shows softer side

Hwang Kyo-ahn (right) photographed greeting a Jongno citizen on Wednesday. (Yonhap)
Hwang Kyo-ahn (right) photographed greeting a Jongno citizen on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

Hwang Kyo-ahn, chief of the conservative opposition United Future Party, gave his first-ever solo broadcast on YouTube and sang a song he wrote as a teenager. He also told viewers how he proposed to his wife many years ago.

During the 30-minute show, livestreamed on his YouTube channel Tuesday night, the 62-year-old judge-turned-politician reached out to viewers and answered their questions.

“I didn’t do any romantic marriage proposal. I think I just said something like, ‘Shouldn’t we start preparing for the wedding?’” Hwang said in response to a comment about his marriage. He went on to talk about his high school days and sang a song he recalled writing in his sophomore year.

Hwang took office as prime minister in June 2015 and doubled as acting president for nearly six months, from the time President Park Geun-hye was impeached in December 2016 until President Moon Jae-in’s inauguration in May 2017.

When asked about his most memorable times during his tenure as prime minister, the politician talked about filling in at the Blue House after Park was removed from office. “Because it was unprecedented, I felt burdened, but I think I managed to pull it off after hearing (advice) from many,” he said.

Though he has only been in partisan politics for about a year, Hwang is conservatives’ best shot at the next presidential election two years from now.

He is currently running his first-ever election campaign for a parliamentary seat in a constituency in Seoul’s Jongno, while at the same time leading the main opposition party’s overall campaign.

Polls put him behind Lee Nak-yon of the ruling Democratic Party in Jongno. He also trails Lee in polls about potential presidential candidates.

Hwang’s camp claims polls don’t accurately reflect voter sentiment and he is riding on an upward momentum. As for the United Future Party, the chief says its goal is to overwhelm the ruling bloc by winning a large majority of parliamentary seats.