The conservative main opposition Liberty Korea Party is moving to sever ties with former President Park Geun-hye, with a disciplinary committee expected to open this week.
In their attempt to reform the party, Chairman Hong Joon-pyo and other members have long called for Park to take responsibility for the party’s struggles following the massive corruption scandal that led to her ouster in March.
Liberty Korea Party Chairman Hong Joon-pyo (Yonhap)
Several members have confirmed the party is waiting for Park’s response to their request to quit the party. However, it is likely that Hong will open a disciplinary committee before the end of the week -- at the latest -- to follow official procedures to expel the former state chief.
“We are waiting for her to answer to our request. If she does not reply, the disciplinary committee will probably open before the end of this week.” a three-term lawmaker, who requested anonymity, told The Korea Herald.
On Monday, the party delivered a message to Park’s attorney Yoo Young-ha requesting her to voluntarily quit. But she has reportedly expressed frustration over the party’s decision.
Park is standing trial over the corruption scandal that led to her ouster and has been behind bars for the past six months. On Friday, the court extended her detention by another six months.
The party’s regulations stipulate that if an ethics committee asks someone to defect, the person has 10 days to respond. If they do not, their membership is automatically withdrawn.
An ethics committee can be formed upon the request of the party’s chairman or one-third of party members.
Hong maintained that it is important for the party to move on and cut ties with the former leader, as he has vowed a comprehensive reform of the party to gain back trust from the public.
It is also viewed that cutting connections with Park would bring back some lawmakers who defected to create the splinter conservative Bareun Party in January. At the time, some 30 members opposed to Park quit the then-ruling Saenuri Party. After the mass defection, it rebranded itself as the Liberty Korea Party.
The party’s reform committee has also recommended that Park and two of her loyalists be asked to leave the party, citing that the former president has to take responsibility for the party’s failure in last year’s local election and this year’s presidential election.
By Jo He-rim (email@example.com)