The Korea Herald


Lee Jun-seok’s lead in main opposition leadership race cements

Poll results hint at generational shift within conservative party to take place soon

By Ko Jun-tae

Published : June 4, 2021 - 15:09

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Lee Jun-seok (Yonhap) Lee Jun-seok (Yonhap)
Lee Jun-seok’s lead seems to have become cemented in the main opposition People Power Party’s election for its new leader, with chances becoming greater for the conservative party to undergo a huge generational shift ahead of the presidential race next year.

A poll of 1,044 adults conducted this week showed Friday that Lee was the most favored among five candidates for the top party post with 46.7 percent support, far surpassing the other four candidates in the race.

Lee’s lead was followed by 16.8 percent for former People Power Party Floor Leader Na Kyung-won, Rep. Joo Ho-young with 6.7 percent, 3.7 percent for Hong Moon-pyo and Cho Kyoung-tae with 2.7 percent.

The poll results add support to Lee’s chances of winning the chairman seat, considering that 30 percent of the final election will be based on the results of a survey of the general public, with the remaining 70 percent from party members.

Lee has remained a clear front-runner for the chairman seat in all recent opinion polls, standing ahead of other candidates by noticeably large margins. He was ranked at the top in all age groups and both men and women in the latest poll, as in many other polls in recent weeks.

The conservative opposition party is holding its national convention June 11 to elect the new chairman. Lee’s lead in the party chairmanship race signifies that a huge generational shift looms within the conservative party, which has typically seen its top post filled with seasoned, veteran lawmakers.

He is the youngest-ever contender for the conservative party.

Former People Power Party leader Kim Chong-in said that Lee’s lead hints that the people’s views toward politicians have changed, which should be something that politicians analyze to better meet voters’ expectations.

“Lee Jun-seok has spent the past 10 years in the political circle but has never served as a lawmaker,” Kim said Thursday. “We should think about how to understand this phenomenon in a political sense that people give absolute support to him despite (his lack of political career.”

The 36-year-old Harvard University graduate started his political career in 2011 by joining the Grand National Party, a predecessor of the People Power Party, with a push from former President Park Geun-hye, who was then the leader of the party. Lee lost in all three lawmaker elections from 2016 to 2020.

Lee has made clear in media interviews that he will work to ensure the People Power Party wins the presidential race next year as the party chairman with a focus on fairness and equality for all contenders within the party.

By Ko Jun-tae (