Saenuri lawmaker-elects oppose interim leader

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Saenuri lawmaker-elects oppose interim leader

A group of Saenuri Party lawmaker-elects openly opposed on Sunday the Supreme Council’s decision to appoint Floor Leader Won Yoo-chul as head of the party’s emergency committee.

“The leadership that has stepped down after the election defeat has neither cause nor right to recommend the head of the emergency committee,” read the joint statement. “A new floor leader must be selected, who will head the emergency committee, to manage and reform the party,” it added.

The joint statement was issued Sunday by lawmaker-elects Kim Se-yeon of Gumjeong District in Busan, Hwang Young-cheul of Hongcheon County in Gangwon, Joo Kwang-deok of Namyangju C District in Gyeonggi, Lee Hag-jae of Seo A District in Incheon, and Oh Shin-hwan of Gwanak B District in southern Seoul.

Out of the five lawmaker-elects, only Lee Hag-jae is associated as a President Park Geun-hye loyalist.

The joint statement emphasized that the incoming emergency committee should be “reform-minded” and analyze meticulously the reasons for the party’s failure to win majority in the election.

Saenuri’s Former Chairman Kim Moo-sung resigned from his chairmanship as the Saenuri Party failed to secure a majority in the election.

Former Supreme Council members Suh Chung-won, Kim Tae-ho, Rhee In-je and Kim Eul-dong also stepped down from their positions in taking responsibility for the election defeat.

Since Thursday, Floor Leader Won has been heading the emergency committee as decided by the Supreme Council.

“We understand that the Supreme Council needed someone to head the emergency committee immediately after the election defeat - that was an inevitable decision,” said lawmaker-elect Lee Hag-jae. “But the decision does not need to be carried onto the party convention.”

“The election results are the citizens’ judgement on the party and the government,” Lee said. “The way the current emergency committee was put together did not consider this judgement of the people.”

Lee added that the call to select a new head of the emergency committee has not been discussed party-wide but only among the five lawmaker-elects who issued the statement.

“It’s not important whether there are many of us within the party,” said lawmaker-elect Hwang Young-cheul. “But the fact that some Saenuri Party lawmaker-elects are thinking about these things should be reflected in the incoming emergency committee’s structure and the party leadership’s decisions.”

“To be precise,” added Hwang, “[Won] can take over as interim head of the party, but very temporarily. He can help with selection process for new floor leader, who, once elected, can head the emergency committee and further lead the process to select emergency committee members.”

Lawmaker-elect Lee Hag-jae added if the party decides to select a new floor leader, he or she would have to be someone who “most accurately analyzed the party’s defeat in the election and submitted the most fitting draft of reformation bill of the party.”

Won said at a press conference Friday that the selection of the rest of the emergency committee leadership will be completed by next week.

The emergency leadership will have up to 15 members, including Won.

Won also said the party will hold an early election for a new floor leader. “Because we need to negotiate with the opposition parties about the formation of the next National Assembly, we will elect a new floor leader and chief policy maker in early May,” he said.

The 20th National Assembly will start its four-year term on May 30.

BY KIM KYUNG-HEE [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]
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