Wednesday, April 02, 2008

North Korean Defector Running for Office

Next Wednesday, there will be an election in Korea, and like most government employees, I have the day off. Lee Myung-bak’s party Hannara (or the Grand National Party) is expected to increase their hold of the legislature, and some of the opposition parties plan to run joint candidates in select races in an attempt to stop the future ruling party from dominating the government.

With the recent verbal battles between the North and South, I almost missed this incredible moment in Korean politics: a North Korean defector is running for a seat in the legislature for the first time. From the Daily NK:
“Lee Ae Ran is the first North Korean defector to run for the National Assembly and is ranked fourth on the proportional representation candidate list of the National Security Party for the Displaced.

In North Korea, Lee Ae Ran worked as a food hygiene manger for the Science and Technology Committee. In August 1997, she defected with her four-month old son, leaving her husband behind. She arrived in South Korea via China and Vietnam in October of the same year.

The article goes on to give Lee’s reason for running.
“In North Korea, if you come from a bad family background, there is nothing you can do about it. However, things are different in South Korea because it is a free, democratic country.”

The candidate said she entered the race because she felt a sense of duty to those who have defected and have been displaced from North Korea, and because of her commitment to national security issues.

Good for her, and I wish her the best of luck this coming Wednesday.

(Hat tip One Free Korea)


jams o donnell said...

I wish her the best of luck.

Roland Dodds said...

I talked to a teacher that lives in that electoral district today, and she said she was voting for her. Hopefully more folks will do just that!

Andre said...

I hope she is successful and manages to get elected! It is so wonderful to see that after all that oppression in the North, she has a chance of rebuilding her life and participating in a functioning democracy.

I find that such defectors are incredibly brave and they have my utmost respect and admiration.

Keep us updated!

SnoopyTheGoon said...

I am all for her too. Ballsy woman (translated from Hebrew).