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Assembly speaker's son taking flak for hereditary succession

By Kang Seung-woo

Moon Seok-gyun, son of National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang, plans to run for his father's parliamentary seat. / Yonhap
Moon Seok-gyun, son of National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang, plans to run for his father's parliamentary seat. / Yonhap
The son of National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang is in the hot seat with his plans to take over his father's constituency. Moon Seok-gyun, son of six-term lawmaker and parliamentary leader Rep. Moon, has declared his bid to run in the general election in April on the Democratic Party of Korea's (DPK) ticket and has already passed its primary screening.

However, the 49-year-old political rookie's pursuit of a National Assembly seat representing the Uijeongbu A District in Gyeonggi Province is facing a backlash as many are criticizing him for piggybacking on his father's stature. The senior Moon has won the election in the constituency six times, including five consecutive terms, since 1992.

Last month, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) submitted a bill to prevent political parties from nominating direct descendants of incumbent lawmakers as candidates for their constituencies.

"If the speaker's son wins the nomination in his father's district, it would dash the public's hopes for political renovation and break the rules of the game," Rep. Shin Sang-jin of the LKP said. "Even if the party holds a primary for the district, it would not be fair for a rookie politician without any backing to compete with a son of an incumbent lawmaker who can use the lawmaker's influence in the party."

In response to growing disapproval, the speaker's son rejected the claim.

"I'm almost 50 years old, and at this age, I am sorry to hear that I am trying to capitalize on my father's reputation," he said during an event to commemorate the publication of his book, last Saturday.

"I am set to follow in his footsteps, but I firmly turn down any opportunities coming from my father's political success," he said. "It is an insult to the political party and voters of Uijeongbu to frame me for hereditary succession of power."

However, at an event held by the political "rookie," more than 3,000 party members, local government officials and supporters gathered.

Chin Joong-kwon, a liberal commentator and former professor at Dongyang University, also bashed the junior Moon.

"It is pathetic that a 50-year-old adult still relies on his father. The junior Moon had better find his identity first," Chin said on Facebook.

"Korean politics seems to follow in the footsteps of Japanese politics, in which a third of lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party are hereditary politicians. Such a feudal corrupt practice is now being accepted here."

Some voters also disapprove of such a hereditary power succession.

"If he does not want to face such criticism, he needs to run for a seat in another district, not his father's," an internet user said.

Another said, "Despite his little political career, the junior Moon directly pursues an Assembly seat rather than a seat in a city council or a provincial assembly. That is why he has run into hereditary power succession-linked criticism."


By Kang Seung-woo

Moon Seok-gyun, son of National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang, plans to run for his father's parliamentary seat. / Yonhap
Moon Seok-gyun, son of National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang, plans to run for his father's parliamentary seat. / Yonhap
The son of National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang is in the hot seat with his plans to take over his father's constituency. Moon Seok-gyun, son of six-term lawmaker and parliamentary leader Rep. Moon, has declared his bid to run in the general election in April on the Democratic Party of Korea's (DPK) ticket and has already passed its primary screening.

However, the 49-year-old political rookie's pursuit of a National Assembly seat representing the Uijeongbu A District in Gyeonggi Province is facing a backlash as many are criticizing him for piggybacking on his father's stature. The senior Moon has won the election in the constituency six times, including five consecutive terms, since 1992.

Last month, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) submitted a bill to prevent political parties from nominating direct descendants of incumbent lawmakers as candidates for their constituencies.

"If the speaker's son wins the nomination in his father's district, it would dash the public's hopes for political renovation and break the rules of the game," Rep. Shin Sang-jin of the LKP said. "Even if the party holds a primary for the district, it would not be fair for a rookie politician without any backing to compete with a son of an incumbent lawmaker who can use the lawmaker's influence in the party."

In response to growing disapproval, the speaker's son rejected the claim.

"I'm almost 50 years old, and at this age, I am sorry to hear that I am trying to capitalize on my father's reputation," he said during an event to commemorate the publication of his book, last Saturday.

"I am set to follow in his footsteps, but I firmly turn down any opportunities coming from my father's political success," he said. "It is an insult to the political party and voters of Uijeongbu to frame me for hereditary succession of power."

However, at an event held by the political "rookie," more than 3,000 party members, local government officials and supporters gathered.

Chin Joong-kwon, a liberal commentator and former professor at Dongyang University, also bashed the junior Moon.

"It is pathetic that a 50-year-old adult still relies on his father. The junior Moon had better find his identity first," Chin said on Facebook.

"Korean politics seems to follow in the footsteps of Japanese politics, in which a third of lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party are hereditary politicians. Such a feudal corrupt practice is now being accepted here."

Some voters also disapprove of such a hereditary power succession.

"If he does not want to face such criticism, he needs to run for a seat in another district, not his father's," an internet user said.

Another said, "Despite his little political career, the junior Moon directly pursues an Assembly seat rather than a seat in a city council or a provincial assembly. That is why he has run into hereditary power succession-linked criticism."


Kang Seung-woo ksw@koreatimes.co.kr

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