The new floor leader faces the task of reducing differences with the opposition parties to normalize the National Assembly that has been crippled for the past two months.
Hong decisively beat Rep. Noh Woong-rae for the leadership position, garnering 78 votes out of 116 ballots cast. Noh, who is also a three-term lawmaker, obtained 38 votes.
Hong, a close aide of President Moon Jae-in, was formerly a labor rights activist, and has served as the chief of the parliamentary environment and labor committee.
“I will become a floor leader who prepares for peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Hong said in his acceptance speech. “Now the party should take the lead in state affairs and become a strong towing truck, supporting the Moon Jae-in administration‘s reform goals.”
|Hong Young-pyo (Yonhap)|
He also urged all parties to support the legislative processes, as rival parties continue a standoff over a series of political scandals and contentious bills, paralyzing the National Assembly since April.
“All parties are rivals but are also partners moving together for the future,” Hong said, adding that he will revive politics on Yeouido, referring to the location of the National Assembly.
After his election, he first called on Rep. Kim Sung-tae, the floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, who is on a hunger strike in a makeshift tent in front of the National Assembly building, demanding the ruling party accept a special counsel probe into an online opinion-rigging scandal.
Born in Gochang, North Jeolla Province, Hong majored in philosophy at Dongguk University in Seoul. While working as a welder at Daewoo Motor Company in 1983 he became a labor activist.
Hong, 61, entered the National Assembly as a lawmaker for Bupyeong in Incheon in a by-election in 2009.
By Jo He-rim (email@example.com)