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Ruling party splits over president Park's impeachment


12-27-2016 19:29 BJT

29 South Korean lawmakers have left the ruling Saenuri Party over the scandal that led to the impeachment of President Park Geun-Hye. The lawmakers say the party's leadership refuses to embrace reforms despite the political crisis. They say they will officially establish a new conservative party in January.

And they hope that outgoing UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will join them. Some opinion polls have suggested he would be the front-runner if he stood in presidential elections. The 29 lawmakers' departure leaves the party with 99 seats in the 300-seat National Assembly. 

29 lawmakers left ruling Saenuri Party, and says they will launch their own negotiation body within the National Assembly on January 24th. This now leaves the main opposition party (the Democratic Party) as the largest political body in parliament, much bigger than President Park’s ruling party.

The 29 lawmakers defection has been received with skeptic by the main opposition party, as to how “different” they would be from the existing conservative party with Park’s loyalists. Investigation into the influence-peddling scandal is in full-swing. The independent counsel probe team has put Choi Soon-sil’s daughter on Interpol’s watch list today.

20-year-old Chung Yoo-ra is presumed to be in Germany and the team repeatedly summoned her for questioning on charges of business obstruction. If Chung Yoo-ra is repatriated and detained, many believe it may have an affect on Choi Soon-sil, who has been refusing to attend parliamentary hearings and the special prosecutor’s questionings.

Separately, the Constitutional Court that has 180 days to reach a decision on President Park’s impeachment will begin its official hearings next Tuesday." 

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