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Tae Yong-ho announces second bid for Assembly

By Kim Arin

Published : Jan. 29, 2024 - 18:47

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Rep. Tae Yong-ho of the ruling People Power Party leaves after a press conference at the National Assembly in Yeouido, central Seoul, on Monday. (Yonhap) Rep. Tae Yong-ho of the ruling People Power Party leaves after a press conference at the National Assembly in Yeouido, central Seoul, on Monday. (Yonhap)

Ruling People Power Party Rep. Tae Yong-ho, who was formerly a senior diplomat for North Korea, said Monday he will run for a second term in the National Assembly in a Seoul district typically lenient toward the rival party.

Tae, who is the first North Korean defector to be elected in a constituency, said he would vie for a second Assembly term in Guro against Democratic Party of Korea Rep. Youn Kun-young.

“Gangnam has been my political hometown after I left North Korea and began a new life in South Korea. I am deeply thankful to the people of Gangnam for choosing me,” he said.

“If I were given the chance to represent Guro, which is relatively underdeveloped despite being a part of Seoul, I promise to devote my time in the Assembly to making the lives of the residents better,” he said.

Tae said that he decided to launch his next Assembly run as a ruling party rep in the Democratic Party-leaning district to challenge what he called “establishment politics.” He currently represents Gangnam, which usually favors conservative ruling party candidates. By contrast, Guro has not elected a conservative lawmaker for the past two decades or five rounds of parliamentary elections.

If he were to win in Guro, he would make history as the first North Korean defector to serve in South Korea’s National Assembly for two terms.

Tae is likely to be up against Youn, who served as a secretary to the former President Moon Jae-in of the Democratic Party before entering the Assembly.

In the immediate aftermath of the 2020 parliamentary election, Youn had said Tae winning a seat in the Assembly was “concerning” as it means someone from North Korea would have access to classified information. The Democratic Party lawmaker’s remark was criticized here at the time as being “discriminatory.”