Disability Activist Is Top Choice For Party Hopes
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 29, 2004
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA--The Uri Party announced Saturday that it has put a woman with disabilities at the top of its list for candidates in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
Jang Hyang-suk, 46, is the former co-chairperson of Differently Abled Women United. Considered a powerful civic activist, she joined the Uri Party last autumn to head up its special committee on disability issues.
Jang was announced in the Number One position of the first 12 candidates named by Uri Party officials on Saturday. The party leadership chose Jang in order to boost its public image regarding the working class and underprivileged people, according to the Korea Herald.
"Jang's entry into the National Assembly will considerably change parliament and the entire society," Representative Nam Goong-suek said. "Almost all the members of the screening committee gave her the green light."
Under new election laws, voters will cast one ballot for a candidate and one ballot for a party in the April 15 parliamentary elections. Current opinion polls indicate that the party will have enough support to appoint approximately 27 candidates to the Assembly, virtually guaranteeing a seat for Jang.
The Uri Party was recently joined by other parties that pledged to distribute one-half of their seats to women.
"I never dreamed of being nominated as No. 1 candidate," Jang, who contracted polio when she was an infant, said in a news conference Saturday.
"I will try my best to share my hopes with 4.5 millions of the handicapped people across the nation."