Sixteen reelected members of the People Power Party (PPP) supporting former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl issued a statement on Friday, with a list of signers, expressing deep concerns over the words and actions of the party leader Lee Jun-seok. It appears Yoon and his supporters have launched a counterattack against Lee amid an internal feud between Lee and Yoon over the scheduled debate among 13 preliminary candidates.
During a press conference at the National Assembly on Friday, sixteen PPP lawmakers, including Rep. Jeong Jeom-sik said that a party leader should do his best to promote fair election for change of power, pointing out that issues in connection with the presidential election should be handled by the soon-to-be-launched election management committee since the party’s election preparation committee is a temporary body created for the preparation of the presidential election.
They also expressed concern about Chairman Lee’s offensive comments against figures in the conservative camp, including those in the Yoon Seok-youl camp, stressing that they would like to see presidential candidates add energy to the election process with rational words and actions rather than reacting emotionally.
There was another internal tension within the party surrounding its primary debate. The party leadership discussed the idea of replacing the debate with campaign speeches, but the party’s election preparation committee took issue with it and tried to stick to the debate method.
“We (floor leader Kim Gi-hyeon and I) discussed with the election preparation committee whether it is possible to make some changes to the debate format and currently collecting opinions from the members of the supreme council. Some of them agree and others do not,” Chairman Lee wrote on his Facebook on Friday. Suh Byung-soo, chairman of the election preparation committee, however, told reporters that changing the debate format to campaign speeches will fuel another controversy.
The election preparation committee asked representatives of the 13 presidential candidates to attend a meeting on Friday to determine the method of the debate but the representatives of Yoon and former Jeju Governor Won Hee-ryong did not show up. The Yoon’s camp said they will not attend a meeting hosted by the election preparation committee unless it is agreed with the party leadership. Won also said he can never agree with the dogmatism of the party chairman when his idea has no grounds in the party constitution or party rules.
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