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Former Gyeonggi governor eyeing Saenuri leadership race

All News 17:14 July 26, 2016

SEOUL, July 26 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's ruling Saenuri Party's leadership race slated for next month will become more complicated as the former governor of Gyeonggi Province may seek the chairman's post, political watchers said Tuesday.

Such a development would complicate the election process for the conservative party and even cause members to engage in factional infighting, which had already been cited as one of the main reasons it lost the April 13 general elections.

Kim Moon-soo, who governed Gyeonggi Province that surrounds the capital city of Seoul and who was elected to parliament three times in the past, hinted he may be running for the leadership post at the party's convention scheduled for August. Kim is usually classified as a member of the non-Park Geun-hye faction, although his real affiliation is ambiguous, with some even referring to him as pro-Park.

Saenuri is currently divided into three factions among members who support or oppose the president, and those who stand neutral.

So far, six members confirmed their candidacy, with three of them being from the non-Park faction. Rep. Lee Jung-hyun is considered the only pro-Park candidate at present, although Rep. Hong Moon-jong, another Park loyalist, may make a bid soon.

The non-Park faction has yet to push for a single candidate to compete with the pro-Park group.

With the high profile Kim is set to become a strong contender once he makes known his intent to run for the party chairmanship, members of the non-Park faction are expressing concerns that his candidacy may hinder the party from paving a way for new officials who could bring about much-needed change.

colin@yna.co.kr
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