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Uri Party Leadership Resigns En Masse After Election Rout

Uri Party Leadership Resigns En Masse After Election Rout

Posted October. 29, 2005 03:14,   


The ruling Uri Party leadership, including Chairman Moon Hee-sang and all six members of the standing central committee, resigned en masse yesterday over the rout in the October 26 by-elections.

Right after an emergency joint meeting attended by ruling Uri Party central committee members and lawmakers, the ruling Uri Party announced that its leadership would resign en bloc.

The party accepted its leadership’s intention to resign and decided to set up an emergency measures committee until a new leadership is elected at an extraordinary party convention.

Uri Party floor leader Chung Sye-kyun was appointed as chairman in charge of selecting members of the emergency measures committee, and the party’s 16 branch office chairmen will reportedly take part in appointing committee members. Representatives Lim Chae-jung, Kim Hyuk-kyu and Han Myeong-sook are tipped as the committee chairman.

In a joint meeting attended by ruling Uri Party central members and lawmakers, many called for an all-out reshuffle of personnel of the party, the government and Cheong Wa Dae, including the party leadership’s immediate resignation. In addition, outspoken criticism of the president was raised publicly. Some said, “President Roh Moo-hyun should throw his energy into improving the public’s livelihood, not into political issues. The party should be utterly free of the president’s intervention.”

Much attention is being paid to a party-government-Cheong Wa Dae leadership meeting slated for October 29 at Cheong Wa Dae, and to what silver bullet the president will propose at the meeting.

Some ruling party members raise the possibility that the president will bolt from the party. On top of that, calls for an early return of Unification Minister Chung Dong-young and Health and Welfare Minister Kim Geun-tae, who are strong presidential hopefuls within the party, to the party is likely to be backed.

Cheong Wa Dae and party leaders originally planned to maintain the current leadership for the time being and propose compromise plans to elect a new leadership by holding an early party convention next February, but decided to resign en bloc because many voiced that the current leadership should immediately step down at the joint meeting.

At the joint meeting, Chairman Moon said, “We decided to resign en masse based on the crushing defeat in the October 26 by-elections,” adding, “We failed to live up to the public’s expectations. We sincerely apologize to the public and to our party members.”

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com