Justice Party’s Surprising Rightward Lurch

The erstwhile progressive party is now the left flank of the conservatives.

Justice Party’s Surprising Rightward Lurch

Image: Ideological movement of the Justice Party legislators (represented by yellow dots in red circles) from 2012 to 2020 over the 19th, 20th and 21st National Assembly.  Credit: SBS News and the Blue Roof.

According to an SBS News report from June 3 that scored each legislator’s ideological tendencies for the past three National Assembly 국회 sessions from 2012, 2016 and 2020, the supposedly left-wing Justice Party 정의당 showed a remarkable shift toward the right-wing in 2020.

Utilizing the W-NOMINATE methodology, the report assessed each legislator’s ideological tendencies based on his or her voting record for the proposed bills that passed the Main Assembly 본회의. Although the Justice Party legislators were reliably on the left end of the main liberal Democratic Party 민주당 in the Assembly sessions that began in 2012 and 2016, the scores for the 2020 Assembly sessions show all six Justice Party legislators voting in the same way as the left flank of the People Power Party 국민의힘, the main conservative party. In fact, six PPP legislators - including PPP’s Floor Leader Kim Gi-hyeon 김기현 원내대표 - scored as “more progressive” than all of the Justice Party Assembly Members.

This result is consistent with the recent trend of the erstwhile leftist party, which has lost its connection with labor unions in industrial cities and farmers’ collectives in rural areas. (See previous coverage, “Justice Party in Disarray”.)

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