중앙데일리

Merger Is Out, Says Chairman Of Ruling Party

Dec 30,2000
Mr. Kim, however, ruled out a merger between the two parties when he spoke with the JoongAng Ilbo on Friday.

"We have pledged cooperation. The more we work together, the more we will have smooth proceedings in the parliament. This will make it unnecessary for other things," he said.

The "other things" in question include a rumor circulating in the ruling party, which holds119 seats in the National Assembly, that it will unite with the minor party, which holds 17 seats. A merger would result in a majority in the 273-National Assembly.

"The party will not merge, nor will it take the initiative for a shake-up in the political realm," Mr. Kim said.

He assumed leadership of the party in the first shake-up carried out by President Kim Dae-jung. He announced a broad party and administrative overhaul this month.

Mr. Kim explained that he was expressing his personal opinion when he said that Korea should have a constitution that enshrines a U.S.-style, two-term presidential system. He said that in an interview published Thursday.

"The statement reflects my view on how we can overcome the regionalism dividing our nation. However, now is not the time to discuss amending the constitution because we should pool all of our forces and surmount the economic crisis," he said.

His comments drew attention because they were made at the same time that Rep. Kim Chong-hoh, the United Liberal Democrats' acting chairman, said the same thing.

Currently, the constitution stipulates that the president can serve one term only.

On the question of heading the ruling party's ticket for the 2002 presidential election, Mr. Kim admitted it is likely.

"But my job now is to stabilize the party," he said.

by Lee Yang-soo




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