Six-term lawmaker Moon elected as candidate for parliamentary speaker

SEOUL, South Korea's ruling Democratic Party (DP) on Wednesday elected Moon Hee-sang, a six-term lawmaker, as its candidate for parliamentary speaker.

The 73-year-old Moon beat rival Park Byeong-seug, a five-term lawmaker, by 67 to 47 in a vote cast by party lawmakers, according to party officials.

The National Assembly is scheduled to hold a plenary session May 24 to vote on whether to confirm him as the next parliamentary chief.

If elected, Moon will head the National Assembly for a two-year term, replacing incumbent Chung Se-kyun.

"The National Assembly should be vigorous and ruling and opposition lawmakers should both cooperate and keep each other in check," Moon said. "I would like to make parliament an organization that can be trusted and that deserves to win people's respect."

Rival parties agreed Monday to normalize parliament, ending more than 40 days of partisan stalemate over key bills, including a special counsel probe into an online opinion rigging scandal linked to a former ruling party lawmaker.

The parties reached a deal Friday to proceed with bills on the independent investigation and a proposed extra budget.

A new speaker will be tasked with eliciting cooperation from major opposition parties, which make up more than half of the assembly seats, to handle crucial bills related to people's livelihoods and national security.

In South Korea, elections for parliamentary speaker are subject to approval from a majority of lawmakers. In the 288-member assembly, the ruling DP holds 118 seats, while the main opposition Liberty Korea Party commands 113 posts.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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