|Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo (right) announces Yoon Yeo-jun’s appointment as a co-chairman of his new politics committee in Seoul on Sunday. (Yonhap News)|
Former Environment Minister and political strategist Yoon Yeo-joon on Sunday joined Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo’s new politics committee as its fifth co-chair.
The process of establishing a new party under Ahn’s leadership is gathering momentum, just as the established parties gear up for the June 4 provincial elections.
Ahn’s committee, which is to form the foundations of his party, also counts former Democratic Party lawmakers Lee Kye-ahn, Kim Hyo-seok, doctor and civic activist Yoon Jang-hyun and former science minister Park Ho-koon as co-chairmen.
Yoon is a veteran strategist who has long been associated with the conservative bloc. He served as environment minister under the Kim Young-sam administration and as aides to Lee Hoi-chang and President Park Geun-hye while they headed the Grand National Party. The GNP has since been recreated as the Saenuri Party.
Yoon, however, created a stir in the political arena last year when he joined the campaign of Rep. Moon Jae-in of the main opposition Democratic Party.
“It is an honor to be able to participate in realizing new politics. New politics is the desire of all of the people, a request of the times as well as a command from history,” Yoon said at the press conference announcing his appointment Sunday.
He went on to say that such views are proved by the “Ahn Cheol-soo syndrome” seen in the past two years, and that the syndrome proved how much the public wants change in Korean politics.
Saying that Ahn’s rise as a political force was a “historical inevitability,” Yoon berated the ruling Saenuri Party for practicing “nationalistic and authoritarian first generation politics” and the DP for being stuck in “second generation politics.”
“As the first and second generation politics clash, the people’s livelihood is being pushed to the back, while the country is being torn in two.”
The DP met the news with apparent indifference.
“Hopefully Rep. Ahn and Yoon coming together for the second time will bring good results. For your information, (the party) was aware of the developments and does not place much meaning in it,” DP spokesman Park Yong-jin said.
Park added that while the party accepts criticisms against it, the public was confused by Ahn’s ambiguous “new politics,” and that attacking established parties will not be enough to persuade the public.
“The public cannot help but tilt their heads at the ambiguous signals about whether Ahn Cheol-soo’s new politics is (represented by) Choi Jang-jip or Yoon Yeo-jun,” he said.
Choi is a professor emeritus of Korea University who once headed Ahn’s think-tank Policy Network Tomorrow. Choi is said to be a close associate of DP heavyweight Sohn Hak-kyu, and a proponent of progressive liberalism, while Yoon has spent much of his political career in the conservative bloc.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com