(2nd LD) PPP approves leadership shift, names interim leader
(ATTN: UPDATES with meeting results in paras 2-4, last para; ADDS new photo)
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.
At a national committee meeting, Rep. Joo Ho-young, who has served as the party's floor leader and in other senior positions, was approved as the interim leader to chair the envisioned emergency leadership committee.
He said he will do his best to straighten out the confusion in the ruling party as soon as possible.
"My role is to restore a normal leadership system and stabilize the party," Joo told reporters after the meeting. "The emergency leadership committee is assigned to iron out discord and disorder in the party."
With the approval, 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 appointment 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.
Lee said through his social media that he will file for an injunction against the transition but has no plan to form a new political party.
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