Rep. Woo Won-shik of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea, second from left, receives flowers from party leader Rep. Lee Jae-myung after being elected as the candidate for speaker during the first half of the 22nd National Assembly at the National Assembly in Seoul, Thursday. On the left is former Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae, who was widely viewed as the strongest candidate backed by Lee. Yonhap

Rep. Woo Won-shik of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) was elected as the candidate for the speaker of the first half of the 22nd National Assembly on Thursday. This outcome defied expectations, as many anticipated that former Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae would secure the party’s primary for the position.The veteran politician and former justice minister had been widely perceived as the preferred candidate of DPK Chairman Lee Jae-myung for the speaker position, and therefore considered the strongest contender. But Woo’s unexpected victory has sparked speculation that Lee’s hold on the party may be weakening.In the two-way race, Woo won the majority of votes cast by 169 lawmakers-elect. Given that the Assembly traditionally elects a candidate nominated by the largest party as the speaker, the primary is considered to be the de facto final election for the speaker position.As the largest party in the 300-member parliament with 175 seats, the DPK has the right to designate the Assembly speaker and a vice speaker. Woo, who secured his fifth term in the April 10 general elections, will ultimately become the leader of the legislative branch after a vote at the first plenary session scheduled for June 5.

Woo vowed to enhance the quality of life for the country’s citizens and ensure that the government does its job.“The National Assembly speaker is not just a moderator. I will seek consultation with the ruling and opposition parties, but if there is a delay that goes against public sentiment, I will handle it in accordance with the National Assembly Act,” Woo said after winning the primary. “Neutrality is valuable when it improves people’s livelihoods and rights.”The party also selected Rep. Lee Hack-young, a four-term lawmaker with experience as a social activist, as the Assembly’s vice speaker.Woo, a former social activist turned lawmaker, is recognized for his expertise in labor and environmental issues. He chaired the Euljiro Committee, which advocates for the rights of subcontractors, and led the DPK committee opposing Tokyo’s proposal to release treated water from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant into the ocean. Previously, he served as the DPK’s 카지노사이트 floor leader from 2017 to 2018.

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