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Four-term lawmaker chosen as presidential nominee of Justice Party

Rep. Sim Sang-jeung of the Justice Party speaks after being named one of the two candidates in the party’s primaries on Oct. 6. (Yonhap)
Rep. Sim Sang-jeung of the Justice Party speaks after being named one of the two candidates in the party’s primaries on Oct. 6. (Yonhap)
The minor progressive Justice Party on Tuesday chose four-term lawmaker Sim Sang-jeung as its candidate for the March presidential election.

Sim won a runoff against former party leader Lee Jeong-mi, with 51.12 percent of the vote, the party said.

The 62-year-old is a household name within the progressive camp and has made three previous bids for president.

In the last presidential election in 2017, Sim earned 6.17 percent of the vote, the most ever for a progressive candidate.

In accepting party’s candidacy, Sim criticized the ruling Democratic Party of Korea and the main opposition People Power Party, saying that the two mainstream parties have failed the people.

“I will pour my passion into ensuring that victory of Sim Sang-jeung and the Justice Party is the victory of the people,” she said.

Referring to the land development scandal the ruling and main opposition parties are clashing over, Sim said that the two mainstream parties are only trying to shift the blame to each other.

She went onto accuse the two largest parties of offering only “lesser evil” choices to the voters.

“The People Power Party is full of extreme right-wing populism bordering on fascism, and the Democratic Party is overflowing with fake progressives. Politics that forces lesser evils instead of the best (choice) must end,” she said.

She also addressed the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung, inviting him to a debate on real estate policies.

A former labor activist, the nominee is known for her lifelong advocacy for workers‘ rights and harsh criticism of family-owned conglomerates.

Sim has represented a district in Goyang, just north of Seoul, for three consecutive terms, and served as party leader multiple times.

The Justice Party currently holds six seats in the 300-member National Assembly.

The presidential race has been shaping up to be a two-way race between the leading contenders of the ruling Democratic Party and the main opposition People Power Party.

By Korea Herald (khnews@heraldcorp.com)
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