Posted April. 11, 2009 06:36,
Former Unification Minister Chung Dong-young, the runner-up to Lee Myung-bak in the 2007 presidential election, left the main opposition Democratic Party yesterday to run as an independently in the April 29 by-election.
Chung failed to win the partys nomination for an electoral district in his hometown.
He criticized in a news conference the partys leadership for making a decision "against the will of its members."
"I`m taking off my Democratic Party uniform for a while but will join again soon," he said.
Chungs defection is expected to intensify an internal feud in the party over nominations for the by-elections. The party has nominated Kim Keun-sik, a North Korea specialist at Kyungnam University, as its candidate for the Deokjin district of Jeonju.
Earlier in the day, party chairman Chung Sye-kyun said he will not run in the next parliamentary elections on his home turf, also in North Jeolla Province.
He said it is against the principal of a political party to allow Chung Dong-young to run for a parliamentary seat in his hometown, where his victory is virtually assured.
Chung Sye-kyun said he promises not to run in his hometown in the 2012 general elections in an expression of his sincerity in deciding not to nominate the former unification minister.