Conservative merger to come, but the question is: How?

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Conservative merger to come, but the question is: How?

Rep. Joo Ho-young, floor leader of the People Power Party, center, talks to reporters at a media session on Wednesday. [YONHAP]

Rep. Joo Ho-young, floor leader of the People Power Party, center, talks to reporters at a media session on Wednesday. [YONHAP]

 
A merger of the two largest conservative parties — People Power Party (PPP) and People's Party (PP) — will not be completed soon, an outgoing leader of the PPP said Wednesday.
 
Rep. Joo Ho-young, floor leader of the PPP, held a media session in the morning to mark the approaching end of his term. Joo was elected as floor leader for the largest opposition party on May 8, 2020. The PPP will elect his successor on Friday.
 
Joo said PP Chairman Ahn Cheol-soo had recently contacted him to discuss a merger, and they will soon meet.
 
Ahn also said Wednesday that they will likely meet on Thursday to start negotiations.
 
The two leaders, however, differ on how exactly to merge the two parties. Ahn wishes for a completely new party to be established, with members of both the PP and the PPP joining simultaneously. Joo and the PPP, however, want that their party to absorb Ahn's.
 
"Creating a completely new party takes a considerably long time," Joo said during the media session. "If they insist on this method, our party will have to hold a national convention first to elect a new leadership, then the new leadership will have to discuss the merger with the PP."
 
The PPP is expected to hold a national convention to elect the new leadership, including the chairman, in late May or early June.
 
Joo continued to say merging the two parties under one of their names — presumably the PPP — would take no more than three days.  
 
As of Wednesday, the PPP has 101 lawmakers and the PP has three. The ruling Democratic Party currently occupies 174 seats in the 300-member National Assembly.  
 
Four lawmakers are running to become the new floor leader of the PPP: Reps. Kweon Seong-dong, Kim Gi-hyeon, Kim Tae-heum and Yu Eui-dong.
 
BY SER MYO-JA, SUNG JI-WON   [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]
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