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지나쌤

Kim to take stronger lead in conservative election committee

Lee says he will do what he can as party chairman for presidential election

By Im Eun-byel

Published : Dec. 22, 2021 - 15:08

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Kim Chong-in, chief of the People Power Party’s presidential election campaign, speaks with the press after meeting with the party’s Chairman Lee Jun-seok, at a hotel in central Seoul, Wednesday. (Yonhap) Kim Chong-in, chief of the People Power Party’s presidential election campaign, speaks with the press after meeting with the party’s Chairman Lee Jun-seok, at a hotel in central Seoul, Wednesday. (Yonhap)

Veteran electioneer Kim Chong-in is once again taking a central role in the presidential election, following yet another power struggle within the People Power Party.

Less than three weeks after the party’s Chairman Lee Jun-seok and presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol settled their differences, chaos has struck again with Lee resigning from the election committee following an argument with the committee campaign’s communications chief, Rep. Cho Su-jin.

On Wednesday, Kim held a press conference at the National Assembly, underlining that Lee would not return to the committee.

“Lee made an announcement and we have to accept it,” Kim said. “The conflict between Lee and Cho should be wrapped up. We will have to work on increasing the efficiency of the committee.”

When questioned on whether the fallout of Lee, who is supported by younger voters, would affect the party, Kim said a presidential election campaign is led by the candidate.

“A presidential candidate decides on the direction, then all generations could agree to follow. It is not about specific age groups supporting a specific person,” Kim said.

Prior to the conference, Kim met with Lee for a prearranged luncheon. Lee said the two did not discuss his return.

“I will do what I can, and am asked of, as the party chairman,” Lee said, after having lunch with Kim. “We did not even discuss (a return). I have known Kim for nearly 10 years. We know each other well enough that we don’t have to share words.”

Kim also met Yoon at the party’s headquarters in Yeouido, western Seoul, and agreed to a plan where Kim is to take stronger control of the election committee.

“As a person responsible for the committee, I will take the lead so that a crisis like this would not happen again,” Kim told reporters.

There have been speculations that Kim, who belatedly joined the election committee, would try to reorganize the group, as Lee has paved the way for Kim to proceed with a reshuffle through his resignation.

“It is true that the committee is inefficient due to its enormous size. We will look at how to make things more efficient in detail,” Kim said.

Yoon also said he will support Kim in taking lead of the election committee.

“Kim said he will tighten his grip on the committee for it to be run more efficiently. I also asked Kim (to take a stronger lead),” Yoon said.

When asked about whether he would meet with Lee, the candidate did not answer.

Lee announced his resignation from the election committee Tuesday following an argument with Cho. Cho also resigned from her post, apologizing to Lee. The conflict comes less than a month after the party fell into crisis when Lee and Yoon were at odds over the election committee.

By Im Eun-byel (silverstar@heraldcorp.com)