Ahn Hee-jung

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Ahn Hee-jung
안희정 벙커1.png
Governor of South Chungcheong
In office
1 July 2010 – 6 March 2018
Preceded by Lee Wan-koo
Succeeded by Namgung Yeong (acting)
Yang Seung-jo
Personal details
Born (1965-05-01) 1 May 1965 (age 53)
Nonsan, South Korea
Nationality South Korean
Political party Independent
Democratic (until 2018)
Alma mater Korea University
Korean name
Hangul 안희정
Revised Romanization An Huijeong
McCune–Reischauer An Hŭijŏng

Ahn Hee-jung (born 1 May 1965), also known as An Hee-jung, is a South Korean politician. He served as the 36th and 37th Governor of South Chungcheong Province. He stepped down from his role as governor and announced his retirement from public life after acknowledging accusations that he sexually assaulted his secretary on multiple occasions.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Ahn Hee-jung was born in Yeonmu County, Nonsan City, South Chungcheong Province on May 1, 1965, as the third of five children. He dropped out of Namdaejeon High School in Daejeon due to his involvement in the Pyeongcheonha Incident in which he was caught reading Pyeongcheonha, an anti-regime newspaper published by Lee Chan-koo. The underground newspaper which was on a banned list was handed over by the owner of Jaeil Bookstore at the corner of Daejeon Downtown District.[2] Even though he was transferred to Seongnam High School in Daebang-dong, Seoul, he decided to quit school.

After partaking in demonstrations staged against Kookpoong 81, he decided to go to university thinking university entrance would give him the leverage to actively participate in pro-democracy student protests.[3] Aiming at university entrance, Ahn first passed the qualification exam and after passing it, he was admitted to Korea University in 1983. Since he entered university, he actively organized the Korea University Patriotic Students Association by merging fourteen student clubs of Korea University.

In 1998, he was arrested by the Agency for National Security Planning and was imprisoned for 10 months after being convicted of the involvement in the youth-led rallies motivated by anti-American sentiment.

  • 1977 Graduated from Gujagok Elementary School in Nonsan, South Chungcheong Province, South Korea
  • 1980 Graduated from Yeonmu Middle School in South Chungcheong Province, South Korea
  • 1980 Dropped out of Namdaejon High School in Daejeon (honorary graduation in 2003), South Korea
  • 1981 Dropped out of Sungnam High School in Seoul, Korea
  • 1982 Passed Qualifying Test for College Entrance (equivalent to GED in the U.S.)
  • 1983 Entered the Department of Philosophy, Korea University
  • 1995 Graduated from the Department of Philosophy, Korea University[4]

Political career[edit]

First roles in politics[edit]

Starting from January 1989, Ahn Hee-jung worked as an aide to lawmaker Kim Deok-ryong of the Reunification Democratic Party. On 1 January 1990, Kim Young-sam led the three-party-merger supported by seven political leaders: Lee Ki-taek; Kim Jeong-gil; Jang Seok-hwa; Park Chan-jong; Hong Sa-deok; Lee Chul and Roh Moo-hyun. However, Ahn did not join the move as he was against the three-party-merger in principal so instead he led the efforts to establish a new democratic party in 1990. The eighteen members of the Reunification Democratic Party including Ahn Hee-jung chose to remain in the newly established democratic party.

He also worked as secretary to Director-General Lee Chul. As he became disillusioned with the negative sides of politics, he made his mind to quit politics. To further reflect on his decision, he chose to do daywork at the construction site of the Changwon Labor Welfare Center for two months. After lawmaker Lee Chul took victory at the general election, he resigned as secretary and quit politics on 4 April 1992.

Return to politics[edit]

After quitting politics, he started new career as a sales manager of a publishing company. As he was disappointed by lack of conviction amongst the existing politicians, he returned to Korea University to continue his study for a new opportunity. Meanwhile, with Lee Kwang-jae, he worked as Director General of the Local Autonomy Affairs Research Institute in June 1994, to support presidential candidate Roh Moo-hyun, who lost in the 1992 general election. While working as a political aide to Roh Moo-hyun, the presidential candidate of the New Millennium Democratic Party, who won the presidential election in 2002, Ahn Hee-jung was credited for the successful campaign.

  • 1990 Party Executive of the Organization Bureau, Central Party of the small Democratic Party
  • 1994 Secretary General of the Local Government Practice Research Institute
  • 2001 Secretary General of the Election Camp of the presidential candidate Roh Moo-hyun
  • 2002 Leader of the Political Affairs Team, Secretary’s Office of the Democratic Party presidential candidate Roh Moo-hyun

Prison sentence[edit]

In December 2003, he and Yeom Dong-yeon were indicted for receiving illegal campaign contributions from several businessmen. He was found guilty in an appeal court in September 2004 and was sentenced to one year in prison serving his term at the Seoul Detention Center. Ahn was concerned that his conviction might do harm to the President and declined any political titles during the participatory government to keep a distance from the politics.

Return to party[edit]

While looking for a job after his sentence, Ahn found himself rejected many times. However, with the permission of Chairman Kang Geum-won he took an advisory position at Changshin Textile. In 2007, Kang nominated Ahn as the chairman of the standing committee which organized the Participatory Government Evaluation Forum. The following year, he made a vow to follow the political beliefs of two former Presidents: Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun, and was elected as an executive committee member of the United Democratic Party. After being elected, he took a leading role in establishing the Better Democracy Research Institute which inherited the functions of the Local Autonomy Affairs Research Institute.

  • 2005 Researcher at Asia Research Institute of Korea University
  • 2007 Standing Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Participant Government Evaluation Forum
  • 2007 Democratic Party Chairman of Nonsan, Gyeryong, and Geumsan election districts in South Chungcheong
  • 2008 President of the Institute for Better Democracy
  • 2009 Supreme Committee member of the Democratic Party

Governor of South Chungcheong[edit]

Ahn won the governorship of South Chungcheong Province against Park Sang-don of the Liberty Forward Party by a margin of 2.4 percent in the fifth local election held on 2 June 2010. As a candidate of the Democratic Party (2008), he who was known for his inclination toward political reform won the local election for the first time as a liberal party candidate in the conservative voting region, whose victory was deemed a proof of his overcoming regional sentiments and made many people consider him as a future presidential hopeful .

Ahn was re-elected to the position of the 37th (6th directly elected) Governor of South Chungcheong Province in 2014.[4][5][6]

Election Province Party Affiliation Pct Votes Result
5th Local Election Chungcheongnam Minjoo Party 42.2% 367,288 Elected
6th Local Election Chungcheongnam New Politics Alliance for Democracy 52.21% 465,994 Elected

2017 presidential campaign[edit]

Ahn was considered the main darkhorse contender to be the Democratic Party of Korea's presidential nominee against frontrunner Moon Jae-in. His primary appeal was mainly as a young center-left candidate who was socially and economically liberal but held a centrist stance on issues of national security.

After finishing behind Moon and endorsing his party's candidate, polls showed that most of Ahn's original supporters started supporting People's Party nominee Ahn Cheol-soo (no relation).[7] As runner up to eventual winner President Moon, Ahn was considered an heir to as a leading party candidate for the following presidential election in 2022.

Sexual assault[edit]

On 5 March 2018, Ahn's secretary Kim Ji-eun stated during a live interview with the news channel JTBC that that she had been sexually assaulted by Ahn and raped four times over eight months. She revealed there were other victims in the Governor's office.[8]

In an emergency session of the Party leadership the very same day, Ahn was expelled from the Democratic Party.[9] Subsequently, Ahn resigned from his position as governor, stating that he admits the charges and apologizes to the victims of the assault.[10]

On 10 March 2018, Ahn Hee-jung was questioned by prosecutors for allegedly sexually assaulting Kim. He denied the alleged sexual assault and claimed it was consensual.[11]


  1. ^ Choe, Sang-Hun (2018-03-05). "A Political Star Falls as #MeToo Campaign Builds in South Korea". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-06. 
  2. ^ 박신홍 [Park Shin-hong] (2011). 안 희정 과 이 광재 [Ahn Hee-jung and Lee Kwang-jae]. 메디치 [Medichi]. p. 55. OCLC 792941376. At that time, there was a so-called bookstore district in Daejeon. When Ahn visited Jaeil Bookstore at the mouth of the bookstore district, looking for the literary magazine titled 'Creation and Critics', the owner handed him over 'Pyeongcheonha'. [whose translation?]
  3. ^ 안희정 [Ahn Hee-jung] (2008). 담금질: 안 희정 의 새로운 시작 [Damgeumjil: Ahn Hee-jung's New Beginning]. Paju City, Gyeonggi Province: Nanam. p. 48. OCLC 191080203. 
  4. ^ a b "주요약력 - 충남도지사 안희정" [Profile - South Chungcheong Provincial Governor Ahn Hee-jung]. South Chungcheong Province. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2018. 
  5. ^ "살아온 날들 - 충남도지사 안희정" [The days of his life - South Chungcheong Provincial Governor Ahn Hee-jung]. South Chungcheong Province. Archived from the original on 13 February 2015. Retrieved 6 April 2018. 
  6. ^ "'Little Roh' Ahn reelected in South Chungcheong". The Korea Herald. 4 June 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "[News analysis] Is Ahn Cheol-soo a threat to Moon Jae-in, or is his bubble about to burst?". The Hankyoreh. 7 April 2017. Retrieved 2017-04-16. 
  8. ^ "S. Chungcheong Governor An to step down after rape allegations". The Korea Herald. 5 March 2018. Retrieved 6 March 2018. 
  9. ^ "민주, 수행비서 성폭행 의혹 안희정 출당·제명 결정(종합)". News1. Retrieved 5 March 2018 – via Naver News. 
  10. ^ Lee, Sung-eun (9 March 2018). "An Hee-jung accused of rapes by second woman". JoongAng Ilbo. Retrieved 6 April 2018. 
  11. ^ Seo, Jae Hoon (11 March 2018). "'강압은 없었다' 안희정, 검찰 자진 출석 노림수는?" ['There was no coercion': will Ahn Hui-jung take the opportunity to appear before prosecutors voluntarily?]. Hankook Ilbo. Retrieved 6 April 2018. 

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