[News Focus] Young, moderate voters show signs of turning away from ruling party

[News Focus] Young, moderate voters show signs of turning away from ruling party


The impact of the government’s appointment of Cho Kuk as justice minister is likely to be seen at next year’s general election, as the younger generation and moderate voters are showing signs of turning away from the ruling Democratic Party of Korea, political analysts said Wednesday.

Amid fierce resistance from opposition parties and the public’s disapproval, President Moon Jae-in appointed Cho as justice minister Monday.

Cho had been portrayed as a figure on the front line of progressive policies despite his elite background.

But suspicions of irregularities in the college admission of Cho’s daughter involving Cho’s spouse -- which Cho has denied having known at the time -- have sparked a sense of betrayal among the public.

Cho, a law professor at Seoul National University, his alma mater, now faces vehement opposition from Seoul National University students.

Some 500 SNU students held their third candlelight vigil Monday, criticizing the Moon government for appointing Cho despite opposition from the younger generation. They said “justice and fairness in South Korea have died.”

According to a SNU News survey, 73.9 percent of SNU students were opposed to Cho’s nomination, while those in support of Cho stood at 16.9 percent.

The survey was conducted on 644 SNU undergraduate students from Sept. 1-6.

“It is difficult to predict the impact the appointment would have on the general election. The public’s criticism was harsher than expected. But this does not mean that Democratic Party supporters or moderates will vote for the Liberty Korea Party,” Park Sang-byoung, a political analyst and professor at Inha University Graduate School of Policy Science, told The Korea Herald.

In a sign of dwindling support among past supporters of the Democratic Party, influential civic group Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice issued a statement last week calling on Cho to voluntarily resign over the speculations raised against him and inconsistency in his actions and words.
In the latest survey by local pollster Real Meter, of the people who classified themselves as politically “moderate” 55.1 percent replied the appointment was a “wrong” decision. Support among that group totaled 41.7 percent.

“If Cho makes progress in judiciary and prosecutorial reform (before the election), it will be advantageous for the Democratic Party. But if not, voters will render a verdict,” Park said.

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