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Lee Myung-bak Ponders How to Smooth Over GNP Disputes

Posted May. 02, 2007 03:39,   


On May 1, former Seoul mayor Lee Myung-bak hinted he would “smooth over” disputes over whether the Grand National Party leadership should resign to take responsibility for its crushing defeat in the by-elections of April 25.

After meeting with Rep. Lee Jae-oh, a supreme council member who is rumored to be resigning soon, Lee said, “Considering the opinions of supreme council members who already resigned and those who did not, I am reflecting deeply on how to smooth things over.”

Joo Ho-young, chief secretary to Lee, said that Lee is “concentrating on how to lead the GNP to victory in the presidential election in December.” It seems that Lee is leaning toward a “settlement.”

Joo also said concerning whether the two failed to make an agreement on the issue, “It is not so.”

Joo added, “Former Seoul mayor Lee is collecting opinions through meetings with people outside of the party as well as younger groups and elder lawmakers within the party. He will possibly announce his position tomorrow morning.”

Lee is known to have tried to dissuade Rep. Lee from resigning in their two meetings. Rep. Lee has not made his final decision.

A source from the former mayor said, “Lee agrees on the need for large-scale reforms but is also listening to those who point out the possibility of internal strife.”

If Rep. Lee decides not to resign on the condition that the party will make additional reforms, the GNP’s crisis after the election defeat is expected to subside.

There are disputes over the issue between hard-liners and moderates in former Seoul Mayor Lee’s camp, however, and there is a possibility that Rep. Lee may decide to resign.

GNP floor leader Kim Hyung-oh is likely to not resign, although he said, “I will make a decision later.” Another supreme council member, Chung Hyung-keun, is reported to be leaning toward not resigning.