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(LEAD) PPP approves leadership shift, names interim leader

Politics 15:05 August 09, 2022

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; UPDATES throughout with meeting results)
By Lee Minji

SEOUL, Aug. 9 (Yonhap) -- The ruling People Power Party (PPP) amended the party charter Tuesday to switch to an emergency leadership system and named a five-term lawmaker an interim leader as the embattled party sped up efforts to put internal turmoil to rest.

In a general meeting, PPP lawmakers endorsed Rep. Joo Ho-young, who has served as the party's floor leader and in other senior positions, as the interim leader candidate to chair the envisioned emergency leadership committee.

His nomination will be officially approved at a national committee meeting later Tuesday.

If approved, the ruling party will officially break up the current leadership and shift to the emergency committee system in a move that automatically removes suspended party chairman Lee Jun-seok from office. Last month, Lee had his membership suspended for six months over allegations of sexual bribery and a cover-up.

The move came hours after the PPP's national committee voted for a motion to amend the party charter to launch an emergency leadership committee. In the vote conducted by phone, 457 of 509 members who took part approved the amendment.

Tuesday's development is the latest part of the party's efforts to sort out its leadership turmoil.

The PPP has been in disarray since floor leader Rep. Kweon Seong-dong was caught exchanging text messages with President Yoon Suk-yeol late last month, in which Yoon was seen backbiting about the suspended party chief.

That, coupled with unpopular personnel appointments and policy proposals, such as lowering the elementary school starting age, has led Yoon's approval ratings to fall to record lows just three months after taking office.

But the envisioned transition is likely to face fierce opposition from Lee.

Sources said he is preparing to file for an injunction against the transition. Lee plans to hold a press conference on Saturday to announce his position, including whether he will take the issue to court.

People Power Party Rep. Suh Byung-soo speaks in a plenary meeting of the party's national committee held at the National Assembly in Seoul on Aug. 9, 2022. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)
Lee Jun-seok, leader of the ruling People Power Party, speaks to reporters at the National Assembly in Seoul on July 7, 2022, before attending the party's ethics committee convened to discuss his fate over allegations of sexual bribery and subsequent cover-up. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

mlee@yna.co.kr
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