Saenuri renames itself the Free Korea Party

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Saenuri renames itself the Free Korea Party

The ruling Saenuri Party tentatively changed its name to the Free Korea Party on Wednesday, five years after the name Saenuri was adopted. The renaming is the ruling party’s latest attempt to revamp its image in the wake of the Choi-gate scandal that led to President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment. The party will formally approve of its name on Monday during a national committee meeting. The official English name is expected to be determined during the meeting.

The name Saenuri was adopted by then party interim leader Park Geun-hye in January 2012 when the party was facing an uphill battle for the general election, forsaking the title Grand National Party that had been used for 15 years. Given Park’s role in changing the name to Saenuri, the ruling party’s latest move is seen as its attempt to distance itself from the embattled president, who is on the brink of being removed from office pending the Constitutional Court’s ruling.

The Democratic Party on Thursday criticized the ruling party for its new name, saying it has no right to use the word “free.”

Bareun Party Chairman Choug Byoung-gug, a former Saenuri member who defected, also condemned Saenuri’s latest move, saying a “true way for Saenuri to redeem itself would be to disband itself.”

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]

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