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(2nd LD) PPP decides to elect new leader only by vote of party members

All News 21:26 December 19, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with lawmaker's remarks in paras 8-10)

SEOUL, Dec. 19 (Yonhap) -- The ruling People Power Party (PPP) decided Monday to elect its new leader only by a vote of party members without including public opinion polls.

The party decided to revise the current party rules that call for selecting the party's chairman based on a weight of 30 percent of public opinion poll results and 70 percent of ballots cast by party members.

It also decided to hold a run-off vote if the winner fails to win a majority.

"The emergency committee reached a consensus that it would be in accordance with party democracy to allow party members, who share political views with the party leadership, to directly vote," PPP leader Chung Jin-suk said in a briefing.

The revision is expected to go into effect in the party's national convention slated for early March when the incumbent interim leadership led by Chung expires.

Chung said the change will prevent unnecessary confusion coming from public opinion polls and encourage candidates to do their best to win support from party members.

Critics have protested against the revision though, claiming it will only benefit lawmakers close to President Yoon Suk-yeol and dismiss the public's opinion of the party.

Ruling People Power Party leader Chung Jin-suk speaks at a press conference at the National Assembly on Dec. 19, 2022. (Yonhap)

Ruling People Power Party leader Chung Jin-suk speaks at a press conference at the National Assembly on Dec. 19, 2022. (Yonhap)

Former four-time lawmaker Yoo Seong-min strongly protested against the revision, claiming it is aimed at excluding him in the chairmanship race.

Yoo is considered a potential candidate in the election. He earlier competed in the PPP's presidential primary that was eventually won by President Yoon.

"The president and his close aides took this extreme measure just to get rid of me," Yoo said on a TV show.

Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun, who is expected to run for the chairmanship, questioned whether the revision had to be hastily carried out and urged the party leadership to reconsider the decision.

But pro-Yoon lawmaker Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon, also considered a key candidate, anticipated that the new rules will better reflect the opinion of party members.

"Party members will pick their party leader. The consequence will then be judged by the people," he said in a KBS radio interview.


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