Former Jeju governor tapped as land minister nominee

Won Hee-ryong (Yonhap)

Won Hee-ryong (Yonhap)

Won Hee-ryong, the former Jeju Island governor who spearheaded President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol‘s campaign, was tapped as a nominee for minister of land, infrastructure and transport, in a surprise announcement on Sunday.

“The nominee has a high understanding of land policies which is one of the key sectors the new administration would have to work on to stabilize the real estate market, promote balanced regional growth, and come up with a systematic public transportation in metropolitan areas,” Yoon told reporters at the press briefing announcing new eight Cabinet nominees.

Won was a presidential contender himself in the last election, but worked as policy chief for Yoon’s camp after his defeat in the primary.

The two-term Jeju governor also played a key role in confronting Yoon‘s presidential rival, Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, raising allegations that the former Seongnam mayor was the mastermind behind the controversial Daejang-dong development project.

Nominating Won as land minister is widely seen as a surprise as he has no expertise in either land development or transport policies.

Won, however, said he would use his political capability and cooperate with experts to stabilize the housing market for the middle class and the young generation.

Born in Jeju in 1964, Won graduated from Seoul National University’s College of Law and started his career as a prosecutor in 1995, working until 1998.

He served three conservative terms as a National Assembly lawmaker before becoming the governor of Jeju Island in 2014.

While serving as governor for two terms, Won introduced the idea of making Jeju Island more eco-friendly, implementing a number of innovative smart city technologies.

By Hong Yoo (

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