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Factional feud rocks ruling party

All Headlines 16:46 March 09, 2016

SEOUL, March 9 (Yonhap) -- The ruling Saenuri Party was mired in factional feud on Tuesday after one of its lawmakers was found to have overtly criticized the party's chairman.

A phone conversation transcript revealed that Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun, an influential member of one of the pro-President Park Geun-hye factions within the party, had used abusive language against Chairman Kim Moo-sung.

Yoon further argued that Kim should not be given a party ticket for the April 13 general elections, according to the record.

"It was never my intention to intervene in the candidate nomination process," Yoon told reporters on Tuesday, reiterating that he apologizes for his rash actions.

The party was embroiled in a similar faction strife last year on whether to adopt an open primary for the poll.

Kim vowed to introduce the system designed to allow ordinary people to select candidates for parliamentary elections, while scores of lawmakers, including Yoon, opposed Kim's plan.

The scandal comes at a bad time as the party recently had to deal with a series of mishaps related to candidate selection.

Last week, internal polling data, including the names and approval ratings of the nominees, were leaked online, in violation of local election rules.

Also, Chung Doo-un, another senior lawmaker of the party, claimed that Kim had mentioned that scores of incumbent lawmakers will not get party tickets, citing rumor circulating in the country's financial community.

Cheong Wa Dae, meanwhile, refused to comment on the remarks by Yoon, who previously served as a special political adviser to President Park.

"It is not an issue to comment about," presidential spokesman Jeong Yeon-guk told reporters.

Candidate selection is a critical process that frequently involves mud-slinging by rivals to get the upper hand in securing a party nomination.

khj@yna.co.kr
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