Seoul, Apr 16: A high-profile North Korean defector won a seat in South Korea’s parliamentary election for conservative opposition party United Future, media reported Thursday.
Thae Yong-ho, who defected while serving on North Korea’s diplomatic mission in London in 2016, won 58 per cent of the votes from the Gangnam district in capital city Seoul, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported. This makes Thae the first North Korean directly elected by South Korean voters. "I plan to devote the best of my ability so that our parliament and government can face reality, and implement sustainable and feasible policies on North Korea," Thae said as quoted by Yonhap. The politician campaigned under a different name and registered a different name, according to the agency, as a security measure against possible North Korean attacks.
Another defector from the North, JiSeong-ho, also won a seat in the parliament, although he was not directly elected but was on the ballot as a proportional representative in South Korea’s mixed electoral system. According to Yonhap, North Korean defectors living in the South, 33,000 strong, have begun to participate in the country’s political and social life by forming a political party last month. (UNI)