Liberal People’s Party welcomes 20th member

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Liberal People’s Party welcomes 20th member

The minor opposition People’s Party recruited its 20th lawmaker on Wednesday to become a negotiation bloc entitled to larger subsidies and status in National Assembly proceedings.

Rep. Chyung Ho-joon left the Minjoo Party of Korea on Tuesday after he was excluded from the nomination process based on an internal performance evaluation.

The first-term lawmaker announced during a press conference Wednesday morning his decision to join the People’s Party.

“Over the past eight years under Saenuri Party rule, the country has taken steps backward,” he said. “I decided to join the People’s Party based on public demand for a better quality of life and a fair and prosperous country.”

Chyung stressed that he had independently decided to join the People’s Party, denying speculation about his father’s influence.

The minor opposition’s newest recruit is the son of former five-term lawmaker Chyung Dai-chul, who recently left the Minjoo Party to join the People’s Party.

He is also the grandson of Chyung Il-hyung, a former eight-term lawmaker, and the family has all served in Seoul’s Jung District.

People’s Party Co-chairman Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo, who left the Minjoo Party in December to establish the liberal group earlier this year, enthusiastically welcomed Chyung.

“He is young, ambitious and a man of great reputation,” he said.

Chyung’s addition means that the People’s Party now has 20 sitting lawmakers, the minimum requirement necessary to form a negotiation bloc in the Assembly, which can send representatives to negotiate legislative calendars and receive higher state subsidies than smaller parties.

If the People’s Party can maintain that count by March 28, it will receive 7.3 billion won ($6.14 million) in election subsidies, 4.6 billion won more than what it would have received with just 19 lawmakers.

However, it remains to be seen whether it will be able to hold on to its 20 lawmakers by that time. The party recently announced that it would not nominate Rep. Lim Nae-hyun for the April 13 general election, which prompted him to threaten to leave and run independently.

Ahn also just recently managed to persuade Co-chairman Rep. Chun Jung-bae to end his boycott of party operations following a disagreement over the formation of a liberal party alliance. Chun said Tuesday night following talks with Ahn that he would return to his position.

Earlier this month, he suspended his duties as party co-leader, demanding that Ahn accept the main opposition’s proposal for an electoral alliance, at least in the capital region.

In a press release, Chun admitted that an alliance was unfeasible under the current situation and said he would do his best to ensure a People’s Party victory in next month’s election.

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