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[Newsmaker] Opposition leader says ex-chief prosecutor must show ability to run state affairs

Lee Jun-seok (left photo) and Yoon Seok-youl (Yonhap)
Lee Jun-seok (left photo) and Yoon Seok-youl (Yonhap)
The new leader of the main opposition party said Tuesday that former chief prosecutor Yoon Seok-youl, who has topped polls on presidential preference, should start talking about his ability to run state affairs.

“Other than his image of resistance against the Moon Jae-in administration, (Yoon) must answer people’s questions on whether he can run state affairs,” Lee Jun-seok, the newly elected chief of the People Power Party, said in a YTN radio interview Tuesday morning.

“People want to confirm a presidential hopeful’s views on foreign affairs, national security, the economy and education. I don’t think such things can be attained through studying. … There will be an opportunity for the people to see how much thought he has given (to issues of state affairs). And the later this happens, people can misunderstand him. I think the earlier the better.”

Yoon rose to political stardom when he defied the Moon administration’s prosecutorial reform plans during his time as prosecutor general.

Although he has never said he intends to run for president, Yoon has led polls on presidential preference for months.

He has also been meeting with various people, including experts on labor, social welfare, the economy, semiconductors and foreign affairs.

On Monday he hired a former columnist as his spokesman, and he plans to open a communications office in Yeouido this week.

Lee said that while the ex-prosecutor general appeared unsure about politics at times, he had recently started building a political camp, which was a positive sign.

Lee said Yoon and other presidential hopefuls outside the People Power Party should quickly make up their minds to join the party by late August at the latest, as they need at least six months to work with party members before the presidential election in March next year.

“Party members won’t support them if they show up at the last moment,” Lee said.

Yoon’s spokesman Lee Dong-hoon said Tuesday in another radio interview that Yoon was aware of the People Power Party’s schedule and was looking at public opinion before making a decision.

“Yoon didn’t want to be in politics, but he feels a sense of duty to respond to the people’s calls and expectations,” Lee said.

By Kim So-hyun (sophie@heraldcorp.com)
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