Scores of S.Korean ruling party lawmakers agree to defect after presidential impeachment

People's Daily Online

People’s Daily Online

(Xinhua) 13:59, December 21, 2016

Scores of South Korean ruling party lawmakers agreed on Wednesday to defect from the Saenuri Party as strife deepened between factions loyal to and against impeached President Park Geun-hye.

A group of 35 legislators of the Saenuri’s anti-Park faction agreed to bolt from the governing party on Dec. 27 during a televised emergency meeting.

Intra-party fight got stiffer after the bill to impeach President Park was passed on Dec. 9 through the National Assembly with an overwhelming support.

Almost half of 128 Saenuri lawmakers voted for the impeachment, indicating more anti-Park faction members may choose to leave the ruling party in the near future.

A new party that will be created by the anti-Park faction could surpass the number of 38 parliamentary seats the minor opposition People’s Party garnered in the April general elections.

The biggest opposition Minjoo Party has 121 lawmakers, while there are 6 legislators with the minor opposition Justice Party and 7 independent lawmakers.

The anti-Park faction’s new party will become one of floor negotiation bodies in the parliament as it meets the requirements of over 20 lawmakers, raising the total number of floor body to four.

The four-party regime would emerge for the first time since 1988 when four political parties formed their respective negotiation bodies in the floor.

Attention is expected to be paid to whether the People’s Party, mostly composed of defectors from the Minjoo Party, and the anti-Park faction’s party would form a so-called “third playing field,” where non-mainstreamers in both ruling and opposition parties compete to field a single candidate in next presidential election.

If the constitutional court justifies the presidential impeachment for as long as 180 days, a presidential election is required to be held within 60 days.

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