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Ex-deputy prime minister takes helm of troubled ruling party

Election defeat has People Power Party shuffling its leadership

By Kim Arin

Published : April 29, 2024 - 15:36

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Hwang Woo-yea, who was deputy prime minister in 2014-16, was tapped to lead the ruling People Power Party at a party meeting on Monday. (Yonhap) Hwang Woo-yea, who was deputy prime minister in 2014-16, was tapped to lead the ruling People Power Party at a party meeting on Monday. (Yonhap)

Hwang Woo-yea, who was deputy prime minister for former President Park Geun-hye, was tapped Monday as the temporary leader of the ruling People Power Party that is still reeling in the aftermath of its painful defeat in the April 10 general election for the National Assembly.

Hwang, 77, is to take the helm of the People Power Party leadership until a new one is picked at a party convention that remains at least a few months away.

The new ruling party leader-to-be was a judge in Seoul before he stepped into politics in 1996, when he was elected as a member of the Assembly with the major conservative party for the first time.

With Monday’s reshuffle, the ruling party fills the vacant chair seat since it once again conceded the majority in the Assembly to the rival Democratic Party of Korea in the general election held every four years.

Han Dong-hoon, the former star prosecutor and justice minister, stepped down as the ruling party chair on April 11, the morning after the election, to accept responsibility for the loss.

Colleagues in the ruling party say Hwang is a good fit for the job.

Rep. Yun Jae-ok, the party floor leader who also offered to resign following the election, said Hwang met the key criteria of being both “capable of chairing the party convention fairly and efficiently” and “experienced with the workings of the party as well as the Assembly.”

Four-time Rep. Han Ki-ho, who once served alongside Hwang on the party’s top decision-making council, told reporters that the new chair was “a good listener” and “someone who always makes time for people to give him different views.”

Meanwhile, the ruling party is set to replace its floor leadership in an election slated for Friday.