The People Power Party announced on the 19th that it will recruit Rep. Jo Jeong-hoon, who will change the times, as the No. 1 active member of the National Assembly ahead of next year’s general election. The People Power Party is considering nominating Rep. Cho to the Mapo-gap constituency in Seoul. However, Rep. Cho left the party he founded during the 2020 general election and participated in the Democratic Party’s satellite party. Through this trick, he became a member of the National Assembly, but also gave legitimacy to the creation of a satellite political party of the Democratic Party that ran counter to the purpose of the election law. He became a member of the National Assembly on the side of the Democratic Party, but after the inauguration of the Yoon Seok-yeol government, he showed unprincipled actions on the side of the current ruling party, such as taking the lead in opposing the so-called ‘Kim Kun-hee Special Prosecutor Act’. In the political world, the People Power Party’s decision to recruit Rep. Cho, who repeatedly joined and left the party and changed his party affiliation four times so far despite being a first-time elected member, was criticized as an unprincipled recruitment that lost both justification and practical benefit due to the People Power Party’s expansion of its external network.
Rep. Cho, a former certified public accountant with experience working at the World Bank, joined the Democratic Party of Korea as a talent recruiter two months before the 20th National Assembly election in February 2016, but did not receive a nomination. Representative Cho later left the Democratic Party and founded Era Change in February 2020, two months before the 21st National Assembly election. The purpose was to bring together experts in their 30s and 40s to pursue practical politics. At the time, Rep. Cho declared, “This general election is a ‘change in old politics,’” and “politicians must be weeded out.” However, Rep. Cho’s subsequent political actions followed the old habits of old-fashioned politicians who had to be weeded out on their own.
Representative Cho criticized satellite parties at a press conference on March 10, 2020, saying, “The United Future Party, which has put forward a trick satellite party, and the Democratic Party, which has abandoned the purpose of revising the election law by belatedly participating in a proportional coalition, are both options that are frustrating the people.” After a while, he left the Era Change Party and joined the Citizens’ Party, a satellite party of the Democratic Party. As a result, he was given the badge of a member of the National Assembly, but election law experts criticized that “the participation of the Change of Times and Basic Income Party gave legitimacy to a ‘trick political party’ that should not have been created.”
After entering the National Assembly, we returned to the changing times. Because of his proportional representation status, which means that if he leaves the party, he is deprived of his seat as a member of the National Assembly, he formally expressed his opposition by saying, ‘I am also against the merger of the Democratic Party with the Citizens’ Party,’ and was ‘expelled by a trick’ from the Citizens’ Party, and maintained his position as a member of the National Assembly at the turn of the times. Lee Won-jae, former co-representative of Era Transition, opposed merger with the People Power Party and said, “I got to witness very closely how greed ruins humanity.”
Rep. Jo Jeong-hoon founded the Changing Times in February 2020 and said, “I will not form any alliance with politicians who only serve vested interests.” However, Rep. Cho, who left the Changing Times party and became a member of the National Assembly from the satellite party of the Democratic Party of Korea, has since shown pro-Democratic Party politics.
In the first half of the 21st National Assembly, Rep. Cho proposed the Basic Income Act as a solution to polarization, saying, “Basic income is giving 200,000 won for walking around the Blue Marble.” He was the first to advocate for national disaster relief funds before the coronavirus and also supported the policy stance of the Moon Jae-in administration, which emphasized the active role of national finances.
In February 2021, he ran in the Seoul mayoral by-election and announced a basic income pledge for the homeless and proposed a ‘basic income alliance’ to Lee Jae-myung, the Democratic Party’s candidate for Gyeonggi Province governor at the time. This is in line with candidate Lee Jae-myung and the Democratic Party, who have been promoting the ‘free series’ since his time as mayor of Seongnam. Afterwards, Rep. Cho, who said, “I wouldn’t run if I didn’t want to finish the race,” stepped down from his candidacy, unifying with Democratic Party candidate Park Young-sun. He instead retained his parliamentary seat. In the political world, there was an assessment that “as a new party with one person in the National Assembly, it would have been a good opportunity to promote the name of Jo Jeong-hoon to the public.”
In the second half of the 21st National Assembly, Rep. Cho suddenly revealed his pro-People Power tendency as the standing committee was changed to the Legislation and Judiciary Committee. In April 2022, when the Democratic Party pushed for ‘complete inspection (complete removal of prosecutors’ investigative rights)’ ahead of President Moon Jae-in’s retirement, they opposed it, saying, “Will it be possible to eradicate corrupt power by completing inspection?” Representative Cho from the Pan-Democratic Party began to receive media attention by publicly opposing the completion of inspections.Rep. Cho, who until then had been active as a member of the Democratic Party, was classified as a member of the ruling party with a pro-Yoon inclination after the Yoon Seok-yeol government came into power. In September 2022, the decisive moment was when Rep. Cho, who played the role of ‘casting vote’ as the only third party member of the National Assembly Legislative and Judiciary Committee, blocked the ‘Kim Kun-hee Special Prosecutor Act’ proposed by the Democratic Party. Rep. Cho blocked the Legislative and Judiciary Committee’s decision, saying, “How helpful would a special investigation into the president’s wife be to the people’s livelihood?” Democratic Party lawmaker Park Beom-gye even said, “Think about how he came into the National Assembly안전놀이터.” He asked why he was opposed to the Democratic Party’s party line while wearing the badge of a member of the National Assembly from the Democratic Party’s satellite party. In the end, the Democratic Party had to bypass the Legislative and Judiciary Committee, which Rep. Cho had blocked, and put the ‘Kim Kun-hee Special Prosecutor Act’ on the agenda for quick processing in the plenary session.
Even in the midst of Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung’s judicial risk, which began in earnest at the end of last year, he actively called for Lee’s resignation from the beginning, attracting the attention of the media and the public. An official from the ruling party said, “If a member of the Democratic Party criticizes the Democratic Party, it is bound to attract attention,” and added, “Isn’t he starting his own politics in earnest ahead of next year’s general election?”
Earlier this month, Rep. Cho hung a banner in the Mapo-gap area of Seoul that read, “Neither left nor right, but forward.” Although it is a slogan that advocates pragmatic politics, Rep. Cho’s unprincipled political actions are being criticized by both camps. People Power Party lawmaker Jung Jin said, “Even if the reality is that it is difficult to recruit talented people, can party supporters understand his up-and-coming political moves?” Former co-representative Lee Won-jae, who founded Era Change with Rep. Cho, said of the news of Rep. Cho’s recruitment to the ruling party, “It’s so absurd and devastating. He said, “The People Power Party and (Era Transformation) are political parties that cannot share any values,” and “It is an ugly side of our politics where there are no values and people, only greed and fraud.”
Meanwhile, on the 20th, the People Power Party plans to announce the recruitment of Namyangju Mayor Cho Kwang-han, a member of the Democratic Party who was at odds with Democratic Party leader Lee Jae-myung when he was governor of Gyeonggi Province, former Korea Land and Housing Corporation President Kim Hyun-joon, who served as Commissioner of the National Tax Service during the Moon Jae-in administration, and former comedian Kim Young-min. .