SKorean ruling party rebels quit

Saenuri Party loses parliamentary plurality to left-leaning rival after split over allegiance to impeached president

SKorean ruling party rebels quit

World Bulletin / News Desk

 Dozens of South Korean ruling Saenuri Party lawmakers quit Tuesday with a plan to form a new conservative camp -- fulfilling their rebellion promise after the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye over a massive power abuse scandal.

The immediate impact of the departure of 29 representatives is that the National Assembly’s Saenuri plurality has been lost to the Democratic Party.

Now with just 99 of 300 parliamentary seats, the ruling party has 22 seats less than its main left-leaning rival, which played a key role in impeaching the president earlier this month.

Despite Park’s powers being suspended pending a final decision by the Constitutional Court, she retains the support of mainstream Saenuri members -- having failed to take control of the ruling party through a floor leader election, anti-Park rebels decided to set up a new party.

The New Conservative Party for Reform, as its working title reads, will be established Jan. 24 as an antidote to the Saenuri association with a president whose ousting has been the main objective of street protests involving millions of people.

“Park loyalists have forgotten the true values of conservatism and as a result lost the people's trust,” the breakaway faction was quoted as saying by local news agency Yonhap.

2017 will see a nationwide vote to choose a new president even if the Constitutional Court does not trigger a snap election because Park’s term is entering its final year anyway.

Opinion polls point to a victory for the Democratic Party’s potential presidential contender Moon Jae-in unless outgoing United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon decides to run.

Ban is being tipped as a conservative candidate and has frequently topped popularity surveys -- but he is also coming under pressure with his office vehemently denying a Sisa Journal claim that he accepted bribes around a decade ago.

There was further momentum for the Democratic Party Tuesday, as the education ministry announced that it would delay the release of state-published history textbooks for middle and high schools until 2018 -- taking the steam out of a contentious Park policy.

Opposition lawmakers have been strongly against the textbook series aimed at unifying students’ views of history, particularly given how political allegiances often affect interpretations of the peninsula’s turbulent twentieth century.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 27 Aralık 2016, 09:28
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