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Chung Sye-kyun
Donald Trump and Chung Sye-kyun (cropped2).jpg
42nd Prime Minister of South Korea
In office
14 January 2020 – 16 April 2021
President Moon Jae-in
Deputy Yoo Eun-hae
Hong Nam-ki
Preceded by Lee Nak-yeon
Succeeded by Hong Nam-ki (acting)
Kim Boo-kyum
Speaker of the National Assembly
In office
9 June 2016 – 29 May 2018
President Park Geun-hye
Hwang Kyo-ahn (Acting)
Moon Jae-in
Deputy Shim Jae-chul
Park Joo-sun
Preceded by Chung Eui-hwa
Succeeded by Moon Hee-sang
Member of the National Assembly
In office
30 May 1996 – 29 May 2004
Preceded by Hwang In-sung
Succeeded by himself
(as Jinan-Muju-Jangsu-Imsil)
Constituency Jinan–Muju–Jangsu
In office
30 May 2004 – 29 May 2012
Preceded by himself
(as Jinan-Muju-Jangsu)
Kim Tai-shik
(as Wanju-Imsil)
Succeeded by Park Min-soo
Constituency Jinan–Muju–Jangsu–Imsil
In office
30 May 2012 – 29 May 2020
Preceded by Park Jin
Succeeded by Lee Nak-yeon
Constituency Jongno-gu
Chairman of the Democratic Party
In office
7 July 2008 – 2 August 2010
Preceded by Sohn Hak-kyu and
Park Sang-chun
Succeeded by Park Jie-won (acting)
Chairman of the Uri Party
In office
14 February 2007 – 20 August 2007
Preceded by Kim Geun-tae
Succeeded by Party dissolved
Minister of Commerce, Industry and Energy
In office
10 February 2006 – 1 March 2007
President Roh Moo-hyun
Preceded by Lee Hee-beom
Succeeded by Kim Young-joo
Personal details
Born (1950-11-05) 5 November 1950 (age 73)
26 September 1950 of the lunisolar calendar
Jinan, North Jeolla, South Korea
Political party Democratic Party of Korea (until 2016, since 2018)
Other political
Independent (2016–2018)
as Speaker of the National Assembly, as required by law.
Spouse Choi Hye-kyung (최혜경)
Residences Jongno, Seoul
Alma mater Korea University (LL.B.)
Wagner, New York University (M.A.)
Pepperdine University (MBA)
Kyung Hee University (Ph.D.)
Korean name
Revised Romanization Jeong Segyun
McCune–Reischauer Chŏng Segyun

Chung Sye-kyun (Hangul: 정세균; Hanja: 丁世均; born 5 November 1950) is a South Korean politician who has served as Speaker of the National Assembly from 2016 to 2018 and Prime Minister of South Korea from 2020 to 2021.

He was previously leader of the main opposition Democratic Party between 2008 and 2010, and twice chairman of its predecessor, the Uri Party, first on an interim basis from October 2005 to January 2006 and then fully from February 2007 until the Uri Party's dissolution in August of that year.

On 9 June 2016, he was elected to a two-year term as the Speaker of the National Assembly. Upon becoming the Speaker, following the law that the Speaker cannot be a member of a party, he left the Democratic Party. His membership of the party was restored automatically when his term as Speaker expired on 29 May 2018.

Early life and education

Chung was born in the village of Donghyang [ko] in Jinan, North Jeolla. From 1966 to 1969 he studied at Jeonju Shinheung High School [ko] in Jeonju, where he was a student reporter and served as chairman of the student council. As an undergraduate he studied law at Korea University, and became chairman of the student union there, graduating in 1974. He was nominated as an alternate for a U.S. Asia-Pacific student leadership project in that year. He received a master's degree from the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University in 1983, an MBA from Pepperdine University in 1993, and a doctorate from Kyung Hee University in 2000.

Political career

Chung entered the National Assembly in the 1996 parliamentary election as a member of the main liberal opposition National Congress for New Politics, representing his home county of Jinan, North Jeolla, in the Jinan–Muju–Jangsu constituency.

President Roh Moo-hyun appointed Chung the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Energy at the start of 2006. As minister, Chung received U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman in Seoul, and participated in the Five-Party Energy Ministerial held in Beijing on 16 December 2006, promoting energy efficiency and the development of clean energy technologies.

Democratic Party leader (2008–10)

At the Democratic Party national convention on 6 July 2008, Chung was elected leader of the party, defeating Choo Mi-ae, his closest competitor.

In July 2009, Chung went on a six-day hunger strike to protest a series of media laws passed by the ruling Grand National Party. He resigned his assembly seat on 24 July alongside Chun Jung-bae, labeling the bills invalid and stating that passing legislation through "illegal voting and violence cannot be justified". Some 70 Democratic lawmakers also handed letters of resignation to Chung, and Chung announced that the party would begin a hundred-day campaign in the streets against the laws. Chung and his fellow party members returned to the assembly on 27 August after a month of protests.

Chung faced calls to resign as party leader after the Democratic Party underperformed in the 2010 by-elections, losing five of the eight seats being contested. He accepted the demands and resigned alongside the rest of the party leadership on 2 August taking responsibility for the defeat.

Later legislative career (2010–present)

In the 2012 parliamentary election, Chung moved from Jeolla to Seoul to contest Jongno, an important constituency encompassing the Dongdaemun and the presidential residence at the Blue House. He defeated his Saenuri Party competitor Hong Sa-duk, a six-term assemblyman and leading supporter of Park Geun-hye. Remaining in Jongno as a member of the Minjoo Party of Korea, four years later in the 2016 elections Chung successfully fended off a challenge from another Saenuri heavyweight, former Seoul mayor Oh Se-hoon, confounding opinion polls from before the vote that had suggested Oh would win. Prior to the 2016 election, Chung had criticized the Minjoo leadership for failing to nominate enough women and minority candidates. In December 2019, he was nominated the second prime minister of the Moon Jae-in government. He took office as the 42nd Prime Minister on January 14, 2020.


His nickname is the 'Bacteriaman (Baikinman, 세균맨)', so he received a Baikinman doll. Because his name, 세균 (世均, Sye-kyun or Segyun), is pronounced the same as 세균 (細菌, Segyun), which means bacteria.

His religious affiliation is Protestant.

See also

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