Shim Sang-jung and Roh Hoe-chan, lawmakers of the minor opposition Justice Party, are the party`s symbols. Both are reputed to be "star lecturers." They grab the attention of the audience with fluent and informal eloquence, giving easy-to-understand explanations about difficult issues regarding progressivism. Two years ago, Shim gave a lecture to a workshop held by the ruling Saenuri Party. The duo plays a great role in helping the party with just five lawmakers attract public attention.
They were the starting members of the Democratic Labor Party (DLP), which was founded in January 2000. The DLP showed off its existence by steadily fielding candidates in presidential and parliamentary elections. In the 2004 general elections, the party won 13.3 percent of party votes and garnered 10 seat, including proportional ones in the National Assembly. When the party had an internal feud over its line in 2008, the two bolted out and created the New Progressive Party, saying that they would not work with "North Korea followers." Their courage of drawing a line with the pro-North Korean faction was hailed by many people.
In December 2011, the two launched the United Progressive Party jointly with the DLP and the Participation Party. Just before the 2012 parliamentary elections, the two bolted out of the party again after its process for nominating proportional representation candidates was found to have been rigged. In collaboration with politicians from the Participation Party, they founded the Progressive Justice Party in December 2012 and changed the new party`s name to the Justice Party in July 2013.
The Justice Party nominated its own candidates for the July 30 parliamentary by-elections but made political deals with the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy. Finally, they successfully united candidacies in three electoral districts one in Seoul and two in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province. The drama was directed by Shim, with Roh and three other candidates playing as actors. It might have been difficult for the minor party unable to win on its own to stand aloof from the elections. However, if the party nominates candidates for all electoral districts and then politically engineer candidacy unifications, it should quit being a political party. How will the two defend the Justice Party`s behavior?