Mayor Park cruises to third term

The Korea Times - - ELECTIONS - By Kang Se­ung-woo ksw@ko­re­atimes.co.kr

Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon won his third term in an over­whelm­ing vic­tory, Wed­nes­day, be­com­ing the first Seoul mayor to serve three straight terms.

The former lawyer and civic ac­tivist first won the post in the 2011 by-election.

Newly man­dated, Park will seek to trans­form the cap­i­tal into a “smart city” in prepa­ra­tion for the Fourth In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion as he pledged on the cam­paign trail.

To this end, Park des­ig­nated six strate­gic ini­tia­tives the met­ro­pol­i­tan govern­ment will fo­cus on, in­clud­ing the in­ter­net of things (IoT), ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI) and big data. Seoul's knowhow in cre­at­ing a smart city has gained recog­ni­tion as the city has sat atop the global e-govern­ment rankings since 2003.

In ad­di­tion, the 62-year-old promised to cre­ate a 1.2 tril­lion won ($1.1 mil­lion) ven­ture cap­i­tal for star­tups and nur­ture 5,000 star­tups.

Park is also ex­pected to make ef­forts for bal­anced re­gional de­vel­op­ment in Seoul, tak­ing ad­van­tage of ex­cess earn­ings clawed back from apart­ment re­con­struc­tion and ex­pand­ing the safety net for owner-op­er­a­tors.

Amid the in­ter-Korean rap­proche­ment, Park is also ex­pected to fo­cus on co­op­er­a­tion and ex­changes with North Korea.

Seoul plans to sug­gest Py­ongyang that the two cap­i­tal cities co-host the 100th Na­tional Sports Fes­ti­val in 2019 and re­vive the now-de­funct Gyeongseong-Py­ongyang Foot­ball event. Gyeongseong is an old name for Seoul.

Park made the pro­pos­als when he met with Ri Son-kwon, chair­man of the Com­mit­tee for the Peace­ful Re­uni­fi­ca­tion of the Father­land, a North Korean agency in charge of in­ter-Korean ex­changes, on the side- lines of the PyeongChang Win­ter Olympics.

Park also pro­posed the foot­ball ex­changes to Chang Ung, the North's lone In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee (IOC) mem­ber last year.

The event was started in 1929 in Seoul and held an­nu­ally un­til 1935, be­fore be­ing re­vived in 1946 fol­low­ing lib­er­a­tion and then end­ing in 1948 when the Korean Penin­sula was di­vided.

He also pro­posed a joint per­for­mance be­tween the Seoul Phil­har- monic Orches­tra and the North’s State Sym­phony Orches­tra.

The Seoul may­or­ship car­ries ex­tra weight as the post is seen as a spring­board to the pres­i­dency.

Thanks to his re-election, Park will once again es­tab­lish him­self as a com­pet­i­tive can­di­date for the pres­i­den­tial election in 2022. Ahead of the pres­i­den­tial election in May last year, Park con­sid­ered run­ning as a can­di­date for the Demo­cratic Party of Korea, but he de­cided not to join the pri­mary and Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in won.

Yon­hap

Park Won-soon, who won his third term as Seoul mayor, en­gages in an election cam­paign on the eve of the lo­cal elec­tions, Tues­day.

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