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[Newsmaker] [Election 2022] Yoon mends fences in team, officially kicks off election committee

The main opposition party candidate vows to create a fair nation and reclaim power from the liberal bloc

Yoon Suk-yeol (second from right), the presidential candidate of the main opposition People Power Party, poses with Kim Chong-in (second from left), his election committee’s top chief, and co-standing chairmen of the committee Kim Byong-joon (left) and Lee Jun-seok, during the inauguration ceremony of the party’s central election committee at KSPO Dome in Songpa-gu, Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)
Yoon Suk-yeol (second from right), the presidential candidate of the main opposition People Power Party, poses with Kim Chong-in (second from left), his election committee’s top chief, and co-standing chairmen of the committee Kim Byong-joon (left) and Lee Jun-seok, during the inauguration ceremony of the party’s central election committee at KSPO Dome in Songpa-gu, Seoul on Monday. (Yonhap)

Smoothing over a month of discord in the party, Yoon Suk-yeol, the presidential candidate of the main opposition People Power Party, has officially kicked off his election committee and pledged to reform the government and country, Monday.

“The Korea I dream of is a country with strong fundamentals. It should not be the people for the country, but the country for the people,” Yoon said in the inauguration ceremony of his central election committee that will lead his electioneering ahead to the March 9 presidential election. The ceremony was held in KSPO Dome in Songpa-gu, Seoul.

“I will make a country where pursuing fairness is common sense. ... The government will create fair grounds for competition and lead the private sector to open an economy of creativity and imagination so that we can raise the growth potential and create quality jobs,” Yoon said.

Kim Chong-in, a veteran campaigner who joined Yoon’s election committee as the top commander, denounced the incumbent government and promised his support for regime change.

“We now stand at the starting point of a journey to create a new fair government and judge the incapable and corrupt Moon Jae-in administration,” Kim said.

Moon’s administration has only seen the country as a lab where they can test their weak ideology, Kim added, labeling several policies by the incumbent government on the economy, real estate and on dealing with COVID-19 as “failures.”

“Following the call of the era, we will achieve the change of government with Yoon Suk-yeol,” Kim said.

Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, Yoon said his first presidential election pledge will be on helping economically vulnerable people hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I have already said in August that the most important task to handle for the next administration would be the war against poverty caused by the coronavirus. That will not change,” Yoon said.

“The second task would be creating sustainable, quality jobs for young people and opening doors for their future.”

When asked about when his wife Kim Kun-hee would take part in the election campaign him, Yoon said, “I will ask my wife when I get home.”

On Monday, the prosecution dropped the case on which Kim, a chief executive officer of Covana Contents, was alleged to have accepted bribes last year disguised as sponsorships to the art exhibition operator from companies that were under the prosecution’s probe.

Kim is mired in several other allegations, including stock price manipulation related to the used car dealership Deutsch Motors.

The inauguration ceremony brought together the leadership of the election committee, including Kim Chong-in, the top chief of the team, and co-standing Chairmen Lee Jun-seok and Kim Byong-joon.

Due to the conflicting opinions of the leadership on recruitment and electioneering, the launch of Yoon’s election committee had been delayed a month since the party finalized its presidential candidate early in November.

Kim Chong-in, an 81-year-old politician experienced in elections, accepted the offer to the top post of Yoon’s election committee only on Friday, after days of wrestling as he opposed recruitment of Kim Byong-joon, a former interim party leader in the election team.

Party chief Lee Jun-seok and Yoon had also reconciled Friday night, after Yoon traveled to Ulsan to meet Lee, who had been on a protest trip amid rumors that he was sidelined by the nominee.

In a Facebook post before the inauguration ceremony, Yoon said he has worked to create an election committee that is “united in all fronts,” of genders, generations, regions and ideologies.

“I believe electioneering should not be targeting only a certain group of people, but that it should reflect the thoughts of all people. That is the spirit of a ‘democratic republic,’” he wrote.

“Politics is not done by ‘one individual,’ but by ‘people.’ Politics exist because there are differences, and it is only when these differences are accepted that politics becomes valid.”

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)
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