(ATTN: UPDATES with governor's remarks in last 2 paras; ADDS photo)
SEOUL, May 10 (Yonhap) -- New President Moon Jae-in has picked a provincial governor to be his first prime minister, sources said Wednesday.
Moon, who took office hours after his election Tuesday, plans to announce his nomination of South Jeolla Province Gov. Lee Nak-yon later in the day, according to multiple sources.
"I understand that President Moon has had Gov. Lee in mind for quite a long time," one of the sources told Yonhap on the condition of anonymity. "Although he hasn't been able to notify Lee due to his campaigning, I believe his intention was indirectly delivered to him a few days ago."
Moon's choice apparently reflects his principle to build national unity through a diverse government. Lee is from the liberal stronghold of Honam.
South Jeolla Province Gov. Lee Nak-yon boards a train to Seoul in Gwangju, 329 kilometers south of the capital, on May 10, 2017. (Yonhap)
"(Moon) said numerous times that he would adopt Honam as a partner in running state affairs," the governor told Yonhap on a train to Seoul from Gwangju, 329 kilometers south of the capital. "I believe this is the implementation of his words."
The former journalist and four-term lawmaker said he received a call suggesting it would be best for him to return to Seoul. But he declined to comment on the reported nomination, saying he he has not yet received formal notice.