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Seongnam mayor says will run in local elections, but undecided on which office to seek

Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myung plans to run in next year’s local elections, but is undecided on which office to seek, he said Tuesday.

“I will run in the next year’s provincial elections. (On the question of which office to run for,) I will decide around this fall,” the mayor told reporters in the city just south of Seoul.

Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myung (Yonhap)
Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myung (Yonhap)

A lawyer-turned-progressive politician, Lee was re-elected to the mayor’s office in 2014.

During political turmoil sparked by the scandal involving former President Park Geun-hye last year, the mayor gained popularity for his sharp criticism of the conservative administration. In the election following Park’s impeachment, he competed against current President Moon Jae-in, South Chungcheong Province Gov. Ahn Hee-chung and Goyang Mayor Choi Sung for the presidential ticket of the now-ruling Democratic Party of Korea. He came in third in the primary.

Political pundits said Lee would either run for the governorship of Gyeonggi Province, where Seongnam is located, or for the position of mayor of the capital Seoul.

“I do not plan to take a seat at the National Assembly nor be appointed by the government,” Lee said.

Mayoral and gubernatorial elections are slated for June 2018.

By Jo He-rim (