Prominent DP member ditches Lee to support PPP's Yoon
A prominent member of the Democratic Party (DP) on Monday made a bombshell announcement that he will support the main opposition party's presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol, saying he is disgusted with the ruling party's candidate Lee Jae-myung.
"I will help the People Power Party [PPP] candidate Yoon," Jeong Woon-hyeon wrote on his Facebook. "I was recently introduced to Yoon by a mutual friend and had a meeting with him. I was perplexed when Yoon asked me to help him, but I accepted his request."
Jeong, 62, is one of the closest associates of Lee Nak-yon, former prime minister of the Moon Jae-in administration and former DP chairman. Narrowly defeated in the DP's primary by Lee Jae-myung, Lee Nak-yon is currently heading the victor's presidential election campaign.
From November 2018 till February 2020, Jeong served as the chief of staff of then-Prime Minister Lee. When Lee Nak-yon was running in the DP's presidential primary, Jeong worked as the public affairs chief of his campaign.
Jeong is a former journalist who has previously worked for various media including the JoongAng Ilbo. From 2002 till 2005, he was the chief editor of the online news website Ohmynews.
In the Facebook post, Jeong said the DP had finalized Lee Jae-myung as its candidate, despite a controversy surrounding the counting of the primary votes. "I wanted to help Lee Nak-yon, and my mission ended there. I, therefore, did not join the DP's election campaign for Lee Jae-myung."
Jeong said he will work for Yoon's victory. "I will offer many liberal values to Yoon, a conservative candidate," he said.
Jeong then issued lengthy criticism directed toward the DP's candidate. "He is a candidate who easily goes back on his words," Jeong said. "He is a candidate whose sense of ethics is inferior to ordinary people. He is a shameless candidate. No matter how good his pledges are, we should not trust his promises."
"You can eat an unripe apple, but you cannot eat a rotten apple," Jeong wrote, adding that he decided to support Yoon because Lee would make an "unpredictable, monstrous" president.
Jeong added that he understands the people's concerns about Yoon's lack of experiences and a likely dependency on the prosecution if he becomes the president. "But I think honesty, a strong sense of public service and the character of a leader are more important," he said.
A high-ranking official of the DP's presidential election campaign committee told the JoongAng Ilbo that Lee Nak-yon called Jeong three times to try to stop him from announcing his support for Yoon, but failed.
"We cannot stop Jeong from helping Yoon to get a job in the future," the source said. "Jeong is not someone so important to us."
Rep. Lee Byung-hoon, chief of staff for Lee Nak-yon, said he is disappointed with Jeong's decision. He stressed that Jeong had not consulted with Lee about his decision in advance.
BY SER MYO-JA [firstname.lastname@example.org]