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Lee Jae-myung formally announces rerun for DP chairmanship

July 10, 2024 - 15:01 By Jung Min-kyung
Democratic Party of Korea Rep. Lee Jae-myung announces to run again to be the chairman of his party at a press conference held at party headquarters in western Seoul on Wednesday. (Yonhap)

Democratic Party of Korea Rep. Lee Jae-myung on Wednesday officially announced he will run again to be the leader of the main opposition here, with observers saying he is likely to be reelected at the party's convention next month.

The announcement comes two weeks after Lee resigned as chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party. Lee had taken office as the party leader in 2022 after winning 77.77 percent of the vote at the national convention in August that year.

At a press conference in western Seoul, Lee pledged to paint a hopeful future for the country as he announced his candidacy.

“I am willing to sacrifice anything I have in order to change our reality of despair into a hopeful future,” Lee said at his party’s headquarters.

“Britain recently underwent a change in government (from the previous 14 years of conservative rule) and the leftists won in the French parliamentary elections. We have also arrived at a crossroads toward a new era,” he added.

Lee also mentioned the Jan. 2 knife attack against him that left him hospitalized for over a week with a neck wound.

“Following the attempted murder and terrorism in January, I have said that I will devote myself (to building better lives) for the people and the country,” he said.

Lee, however, did not refer to the multiple ongoing court battles he is currently embroiled in nor the opposition-led Assembly’s passing of a special counsel investigation bill that mandates an in-depth probe into allegations that the Yoon Suk Yeol administration meddled in an investigation into a young Marine's death last year. Yoon vetoed the contentious bill Tuesday.

The Democratic Party is gearing up to hold its national convention on Aug. 18. Though Lee’s two-year term as party chair was to officially run through August, he stepped down earlier as the Democratic Party’s current charter stipulates that the current leader must resign before the candidate registration period kicks off.

The upcoming election is expected to be a two-way race between Lee and former South Gyeongsang Province Gov. Kim Doo-kwan.

The Democratic Party recently proposed a motion to impeach four prosecutors, including those involved in the corruption investigations into Lee, with the Legislation and Judiciary Committee.

Last month, prosecutors charged Lee with third-party bribery and violation of the Foreign Exchange Transactions Act and Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Act tied to his alleged involvement in the 2019-20 unauthorized North Korea remittance case. The charges were on top of three ongoing court cases against him at the Seoul Central District Court, respectively regarding development project-related bribery, election law violations and perjury.