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8-term Saenuri lawmaker not to join leadership race

All News 11:17 July 19, 2016

SEOUL, July 19 (Yonhap) -- Rep. Suh Chung-won, an eight-term lawmaker of the ruling Saenuri Party who has been supportive of President Park Geun-hye, said Tuesday he will not compete in the party's leadership race.

Political pundits have been watching closely to see if Suh will compete in the race for the chairmanship of party slated for August amid the on-going factional rivalry among lawmakers.

So far, six lawmakers are vying to become the new chairman, but Suh has been seen as the favorite among the potential contenders.

"My conclusion is that it is time to give junior colleagues more opportunities. Being the most senior lawmaker within the party, I plan to defend the new leadership," Suh, who represents the so-called pro-Park faction, said in a statement.

"The convention should be aimed at reconciliation and healing (the scars of the factional rivalry)," Suh added. "If the convention sparks another seed of conflict, the party cannot hold onto power (in the next year's presidential election)."

Earlier this year, Suh also played a crucial role in the formation of the new National Assembly, calling on the ruling party to look at the bigger picture and asked the leadership to yield the parliamentary speaker's seat to the main opposition.

colin@yna.co.kr
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