SEOUL, Nov. 6 (Yonhap) -- The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) announced an ambitious bid Wednesday for conservative parties to join forces to seek a win in next year's general elections.
The party's leader, Hwang Kyo-ahn, formally proposed the creation of a consultative body to discuss details of a so-called grand conservative integration to challenge the liberal Moon Jae-in government and the ruling Democratic Party.
The LKP's pursuit was widely expected but the timing of its announcement came at a sensitive time for Hwang's leadership. He has faced growing internal criticism, especially over his recent attempt to recruit a former four-star Army general, Park Chan-ju, as a potential candidate for the April 15 general elections. A few years earlier, Park and his wife made headlines for allegedly treating soldiers serving at his official residence like "slaves." Hwang eventually dropped the recruitment plan.
"I am announcing a plan to push for a political integration in earnest with anyone who upholds the constitutional value of free democracy and the market economy," Hwang told a press conference.
He said relevant details, including a timetable and methods, will be discussed at the envisioned body.
"We need to create a strong political force that can win a clear victory in next year's elections," Hwang said.
The LKP is trying to consolidate support from conservative voters.
Hwang said he has contacted Rep. Yoo Seong-min, ex-chief of the minor Bareunmirae Party who leads a fringe group seeking defection for a new party.
The LKP has reached out to the far-right Our Republican Party, which supports former scandal-hit conservative President Park Geun-hye.
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