3-term main opposition lawmaker defects from party amid corruption allegations
SEOUL, Sept. 23 (Yonhap) -- A three-term lawmaker defected from the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) on Wednesday in the face of corruption allegations that he illegally clinched construction orders from government agencies.
"I decided to leave the People Power Party today ... I determined that it's right for me to give up my party membership so as not to burden the party," Rep. Park Duk-hyum said in a press conference at the National Assembly.
Corruption allegations raised against Park have been the source of a barrage of outside criticism of the PPP in recent weeks.
The lawmaker, whose constituency is in North Chungcheong Province, is suspected of having clinched orders worth up to 100 billion won (US$85.9 million) for construction firms operated under the names of his family members from government agencies for six years from 2012.
He was serving on the parliamentary committee on land, infrastructure and transportation that oversees the agencies when the deals were arranged.
Last week, a group of civic groups officially reported Park to police, accusing him of corruption and abuse of power.
Park again denied all the allegations during the press conference, saying, "I dare say that I have not made any special requests (for the deals) or done anything that constitutes conflicts of interest."
Park's departure will leave the PPP with 103 seats in the 300-member National Assembly.
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