The Korea Herald


Ruling party shows no sign of return to normal

Party members call on Kweon to resign, suspended leader Lee warns of another legal action

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : Aug. 29, 2022 - 15:07

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People Power Party’s Floor Leader Kweon Seong-dong (Yonhap) People Power Party’s Floor Leader Kweon Seong-dong (Yonhap)

Only three days are left before the start of the first regular session of the National Assembly since President Yoon Suk-yeol took office, but the ruling People Power Party shows no sign of ending its internal feud.

In the morning, the party’s all eight emergency committee members agreed to entrust Floor Leader Rep. Kweon Seong-dong to the position of acting leader of the committee and also all members also decided not to resign.

However, a few hours later, some party lawmakers, including Yoon Sang-hyun, Yoo Dong-dong and Choi Jae-hyung, held a press conference, calling on Kweon to step down. They said the party leadership’s move to overturn the court’s ruling on Friday is “very far from the spirit of the court’s injunction and the order of the people.”

“Kweon Seong-dong should resign on his own and open the door for the party to normalize as soon as possible,” they said. “The current crisis in the party is very much triggered by the leadership.”

On Friday, the court cited an injunction filed by suspended leader Lee Jun-seok to suspend the transition to the emergency committee. But the following day, the party refused to follow it and decided to reorganize the party constitution and regulations to form a new emergency committee. They also urged to deal with additional disciplinary measures against Lee.

Since then some party heavyweights have denounced the party’s decision.

Five-term lawmaker Cho Kyung-tae said Sunday that “the (party’s) decision is to look at the people and party members as a pawn,” adding, “If he loves the party and the country, (Kweon) should make a decision (to leave).”

Yoon Sang-hyun, a four-term lawmaker, also said, “The leadership’s policy (to retain Kweon) is too far from the public’s voice.” Lawmaker Kim Tae-ho, a third-term lawmaker, also said on his Facebook page, “Although the court decision can be avoided, the public sentiment cannot be avoided,” adding, “The first step in resolving the situation is for Floor Leader Kweon to step down on his own.”

After the emergency committee’s meeting, Kweon said “there is a duty” that must be carried out as floor leader to launch a new emergency committee.

Adding insult to injury, suspended leader Lee said on Monday that he would file an additional injunction against the emergency committee’s decision to form a new emergency committee under the acting chairman Kweon.

Lee’s lawyers said they would apply for additional injunctions to stop the emergency committee’s activities on the day.

The presidential office -- which is struggling from low approval ratings and multiple allegations surrounding President Yoon and his spouse -- recently appears to distance itself from troubled close aides to President Yoon -- who are known as Kweon, Rep. Chang Je-won and Rep. Yoon Han-hong.

According to multiple presidential office officials, the office has recently been under intense internal surveillance.

According to local media outlets on Monday, the presidential office has decided to replace Hong Ji-man, the first secretary for political affairs, who belongs to the office of the senior secretary for political affairs. Another political affairs secretary at the same office, Kyung Yoon-ho, is also expected to be replaced.

Some predict that up to 30 people may already be subject to change at the presidential office secretarial and administrative officer level. Many of them, including Hong and Kyung, are known to have been handpicked by the politicians close to Yoon.