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Ex-SM Entertainment trainee jockeying to become spokesman for South Korea's conservatives

South Korea’s main opposition People Power Party has gained mored public support after the election of Lee Jun-Seok as party leader June 11. File Photo by Kim Min-hee/EPA-EFE
South Korea’s main opposition People Power Party has gained mored public support after the election of Lee Jun-Seok as party leader June 11. File Photo by Kim Min-hee/EPA-EFE

June 24 (UPI) -- A onetime aspiring celebrity confirmed he is auditioning to become a spokesman for South Korea's political opposition, as the People Power Party seeks to shore up support from younger voters in their 20s and 30s.

Yoo Dong-hyuk, a former trainee at SM Entertainment, one of Korea's biggest agencies, said he has applied to undergo interviews and auditions for the People Power Party's newest position, Newsis reported Thursday.

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But Yoo also said he wanted to distance himself from reports that claimed he was a member of a sub-group of SuperJunior, a Korean boy band that debuted in November 2005. The group once dubbed "King of the Korean Wave" by local media is still active.

"I never stated I was a member of Super Junior," Yoo said on Instagram. "In the past, I signed an exclusive contract with SM to pursue an acting career."

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Yoo said in his social media post that the contract was terminated after a lawsuit and differing views on conditions of employment could not be resolved with the agency.

Yoo starred in a 2017 web series, Goblin's Fire. Some local media articles at the time identified Yoo as a member of "Super Junior 2," an alleged sub-group of the boy band. SM Entertainment's affiliate agency, Label SJ, recently said there was no sub-group of that name, according to Newsis.

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The People Power Party is South Korea's main conservative opposition. Lee Jun-seok, the 36-year-old party leader, is hosting the online audition. Yoo's name was included on a list of applicants who passed the first round of tests, according to Dong-A Ilbo Thursday.

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The conservatives are enjoying a wave of unprecedented support for the first time since the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye in 2017.

A Realmeter poll conducted on behalf of local news service OhMyNews showed that that the party is maintaining a 41.6% approval rating, while the ruling Democratic Party's rating was at 28.8%. The poll was conducted Monday and Tuesday.

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