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[Newsmaker] Law professor key figure in candidate unification push

Progressive law professor Cho Kuk is emerging as an unlikely kingmaker mediating a tricky process to generate a united opposition candidacy.

Cho is one of the country’s best known liberal academics and fiercest critics of party politics. He made headlines in September when he was mentioned as a potential member of Democratic United Party Moon Jae-in’s campaign.

However, the academic has so far remained away from the election campaigns saying that he will play a role in the unification process. 
Cho Kuk
Cho Kuk

In line with his desires to stay out of the campaigns as they stand now, Cho suggested a three-step process for selecting a single candidate between Moon and independent candidate Ahn Cheol-soo in a radio interview on Oct. 11. According to Cho’s plans, the two sides should form a joint political reform committee, then define a joint policy platform and finally moderate the power structures of the two camps to form a united front.

While he has been stressing the need for Ahn and Moon to merge their campaigns, the law professor appears to remain neutral between Ahn and Moon.

“Belief and truth are different. No side can have a monopoly on the truth. Each only has a segment of the truth,” Cho said on his Twitter account on Monday, referring to Ahn and Moon’s apparent belief that each should be the unified candidate.

While Cho remains neutral, he came under the spotlight over the weekend following the official statement from Moon’s camp calling on Ahn to form the joint political reform committee chaired by the law professor.

Although the suggestion does not appear to be sitting well with Ahn and his aides, Cho continued on Monday to urge the two non-conservative candidates to reach some common ground.

On his Twitter account, Cho urged Ahn to “make a framework for joint discussion” saying that he will accept it if Ahn does not immediately agree to form the committee and that he does not covet the chairmanship of the committee.

By Choi He-suk (