A war of nerves between Lee Joon-seok, the chairman of the People Power Party (PPP), and Yoon Seok-yeol, the former prosecutor general and the party’s top Presidential candidate, has been escalating.
Yoon, who joined the main opposition party on July 30, did not attend a series of the party’s Presidential candidate events led by Lee.
Amid such atmosphere, tensions are mounting once again as the PPP’s election preparation committee fixed the schedule of the party’s Presidential candidates' debate on Aug. 18 and 25.
In response, Rep. Jang Je-won, chief of the general situation room of Yoon's camp, told reporters on the same day, "We will listen to what principles and standards of the discussion will be chosen and what topics will be conducted. We will reserve participation." Another camp member said negatively, "It's a matter of 14 runners participating at once, but I wonder if the discussion will take place properly.”
Meanwhile, Lee, who is on vacation, immediately refuted on Facebook, "It's not about pressing a dolphin (Yoon). It is about giving mackerels and anchovies (Presidential candidates other than Yoon) a chance to fairly inform their policies and politics. That's what the dolphin team feels uncomfortable about."
Before former Prosecutor General Yoon joined the party, Lee pressured him to enter the party by raising the "Presidential bus on time departure theory."
"If Yoon joins the party, I will open up my promised silk bag somehow," Lee said. He made it clear that there would be no official party-level protection for non-party personnel before joining the party.
After Yoon joined the PPP, however, the conflict between the two intensified. On June 29, more than 20 incumbent lawmakers of the PPP, including Kwon Sung-dong, Jeong Jeom-sik, Yoo Sang-beom, and Yoon Joo-kyung, attended the ceremony to declare former Prosecutor General Yoon's Presidential candidacy.
At a senior PPP members’ joint meeting held on July 21, many senior members of the party covered Yoon and denounced the party leadership.
However, the PPP leader Lee warned those who joined Yoon's camp, saying, "If you explicitly take the post and announce it (at the Presidential candidate's camp), do it to the party's candidates."
In response to it, Yoon suddenly joined the PPP on July 30, saying, "In order to change the incumbent regime, it is right to join the main opposition party and start the race fairly."
Neither the party leader Lee nor floor leader Kim Ki-hyun attended the declaration ceremony for Yoon to join the party.
Lee expressed his welcome but said he did not know about the fact that Yoon will join the party surprisingly.