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Uri Party On Brink of Division

Posted January. 29, 2007 04:43,   


Rep. Chun Jung-bae, one of the founders of the ruling Uri Party, former Uri Party floor leader and former minister of justice, declared on January 28 that he would leave the party.

Chun’s withdrawal from the party is the fourth—following lawmakers Lim Jong-in, Lee Gye-an and Choi Jae-cheon—since the members of the Uri party began serious discussions on creating a new unified party. His desertion reduced the number of seats held by the Uri Party to 135.

“The Uri Party itself has become an obstacle for the advancement of those seeking to improve the people’s livelihood and push for reform measures,” said Chun in a press conference on that day at the National Assembly Office Building. “In order to push ahead with a grand unified new party consisting of forward-looking politicians for enhancing people’s livelihood and making reform measures, I decided to break with the Uri Party,” he added.

Rep. Yeom Dong-yeon also plans to leave the party around January 30. Lawmakers Che Jong-gil, Lee Sang-gyung and Ahn Min-seok, who reportedly have consulted with Chun over their future directions, are said to have decided to wait and see how things turn out.

Against this backdrop, it is expected that the upcoming meeting of the Uri Party’s central committee on January 29 will be a critical juncture for the party’s future. The exodus of its lawmakers will be slowed if the central committee passes revised party statutes, the outline of which are to scrap the grassroots party member system and introduce a basic/contributive party member system, which those in favor of a new party have called for. If the statutes are rejected, however, it will be inevitable that the party’s leadership—the emergency planning committee—will step down, and the party is highly likely to split as a result.

Former chairman Chung Dong-young, incumbent floor leader Kim Han-gil, and policy committee chairman Kang Bong-gyun of the Uri Party will wait for the outcome of the central committee meeting and then decide what to do.