The Korea Herald


Discord deepens in opposition as chief quits election committee

By Im Eun-byel

Published : Dec. 21, 2021 - 18:00

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People Power Party Chairman Lee Jun-seok speaks at a press conference held at the National Assembly on Tuesday. (Yonhap) People Power Party Chairman Lee Jun-seok speaks at a press conference held at the National Assembly on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
The main opposition People Power Party’s chairman on Tuesday said he will resign from the election committee, following the latest spat with a party lawmaker that again highlighted the young leader’s struggle to take command.

People Power Party Chairman Lee Jun-seok announced the intent to resign from the committee following an argument with the election committee campaign’s communication chief Rep. Cho Su-jin on Monday. Lee will maintain his post as party chairman.

“I will step down from all the posts at the election committee,” Lee said at a press conference held at the National Assembly on Tuesday.

“When a committee member can openly say that he or she does not have to follow the orders of a co-standing chairman for the election committee, the person is denying the necessity of the committee,” Lee said.

Lee, who was also in charge of public relations and media, is to step down from that position, too.

“I will continue to do what I have to do as the party chairman,” he said.

When asked about whether Cho had contacted him after the argument, he answered, “I don’t care. I don’t want her apology.”

“Cho said she follows presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol’s wishes. I wonder whether Cho consulted with Yoon and what he told her until the situation came to this,” he said.

On Monday, Lee and Cho had an argument, and Cho said she only answers to Yoon when the party chairman requested her to respond to allegations against Kim Keon-hee, the spouse of Yoon.

A few hours later, Lee updated a post on his social media account, claiming Cho shared links of a YouTube video that ridiculed him with reporters.

“Why is Cho sending a link of a YouTube video that worries about my mental health to the press without focusing on her work as communication chief?” Lee wrote on the post.

Cho explained she shared the link with some reporters without checking the details. She apologized, saying, “I wasn’t calm enough. It was wrong without an excuse. I apologize to Lee.”

Despite the apology, Lee updated another post on his account, saying “Is (Cho) going to respond to issues related to the candidate’s spouse in this manner?” and urging for Cho’s resignation.

After the controversy, Cho, however, went on with her usual schedule, updating promotional posts about the candidate.

The conflict comes less than a month after the party fell into turmoil when Lee publicly expressed his discontent with the party’s presidential candidate.

Earlier this month, Lee canceled all official activities and cut contact with the press and most party officials for days. Rumors swirled that Yoon and party officials had been sidelining Lee on several important occasions.

“Some said I have refused to do my duties, but I have not been given a duty to handle,” Lee told reporters at the time.

Yoon and Lee then met in Ulsan on Dec. 3 to shake hands and mend the conflict.