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Bareun Party lawmaker decides to defect to Liberty Korea Party

All Headlines 11:49 January 09, 2018

SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) -- A Bareun Party lawmaker on Tuesday declared his defection to the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) in protest against the minor conservative party's move to merge with a center-left party.

Rep. Kim Se-yeon's defection underscored deepening dissension over the proposed union with the People's Party that he and other dissenters say cannot go together with their party due to different ideological roots and policy stances.

His departure will reduce the total number of the party's lawmakers to 10, while the number of the LKP lawmakers will rise to 117.

"I have mixed feelings while thinking of the citizens who have supported the Bareun Party, party members and colleagues," Kim said in a written statement. "Wherever I am, I will do my best there to help create a Republic of Korea that can better serve future generations."

This photo, taken Dec. 4, 2017, shows Rep. Kim Se-yeon (R) speaking during a meeting of the minor opposition Bareun Party at the National Assembly in Seoul. (Yonhap)

Kim's defection is yet another dispiriting blow to a campaign by People's Party leader Ahn Cheol-soo to rally centrist politicians and strengthen his party's parliamentary foothold ahead of the gubernatorial and mayoral elections, slated for June.

The campaign has also faced stiff resistance from within the People's Party. Some senior members argue that joining hands with the Bareun Party will obscure their party's political identity and alienate its supporters.

Kim's announcement came hours after Gyeonggi Province Gov. Nam Kyung-pil, another core member of the Bareun Party, voiced his opposition to the merger plan. He reiterated his commitment to unifying the fractured conservative bloc.

"I will not join the pursuit of a union between the People's Party and Bareun Party," Nam wrote on Facebook. "It is because I cannot be with a party that has divergent views."

sshluck@yna.co.kr
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