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Pro-Park Group Seeks Merger With Ruling Party

Posted March. 25, 2010 04:20,   


Future Hope Solidarity, a party loyal to former ruling Grand National Party Chairwoman Park Geun-hye and the predecessor of the Pro-Park Coalition, has requested an unconditional merger with the ruling party.

Should the merger proceed, it is expected to drastically change the political landscape of the June 2 local elections.

Former Future Hope leader Suh Cheong-won, who is in prison after being convicted of bribery to become a candidate in the general elections, said in a statement, “Let’s pledge not to nominate candidates for the local elections to achieve a victory for the people, who support conservative forces.”

“Let’s leave consolidation with the Grand National Party in the hands of the Grand National Party.”

“The founding spirit of the Pro-Park Coalition is to return to the Grand National Party alive,” he added. “It meant to be a temporary party from the outset.”

Suh conveyed his opinion to Future Hope Secretary General Kim Se-hyeon and member Kim Jin-woo, who is in charge of organization and general affairs.

In a meeting of senior officials yesterday, Future Hope decided to accept Suh’s suggestion and hold a national convention to make a commitment for the consolidation soon.

Future Hope Chairman Rhee Q-taek told The Dong-A Ilbo over the phone, “I oppose an unconditional surrender.” He suggested as preconditions for the merger the establishment of a co-chairmanship and a joint election committee; the guarantee of a 20-percent share in the chairmanship of a party member council and the nomination of candidates for the local elections; and an immediate pardon for Suh.

“Suh and leading ruling party members apparently made promises. Does it make sense for public parties to pursue a merger behind the scenes?” Rhee said.

Despite his opposition, however, dialogue between the two parties on the merger is expected to gain momentum since Suh is the most influential figure among pro-Park politicians.

To this, ruling party spokeswoman Chung Mi-kyung said, “We welcome Suh’s decision,” adding, “I expect the merger talks, which have been conducted secretly, to proceed at a rapid pace.”

Ruling party`s Secretary General Choung Byoung-gug also told Dong-A, “The key to the merger is in the Future Hope Solidarity,” adding the party will only accept an unconditional consolidation.

“We cannot guarantee the provision of shares in the party member council and the nomination of candidates for local elections due to the party constitution and regulations.”

On the alleged secret talks between Park and Suh over the consolidation, lawmaker Lee Jung-hyun, who acts as Park’s spokesman, said she was unaware of the matter.

kimkihy@donga.com egija@donga.com