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Ruling Party Head, Pres. Chief of Staff Resign

Posted June. 04, 2010 14:44,   


The government and the ruling Grand National Party are reeling from their crushing defeat in Wednesday’s local elections, which were considered a mid-term referendum on the Lee Myung-bak administration.

Party chairman Chung Mong-joon and other leaders offered their resignations Thursday to assume responsibility for the defeat. Presidential chief of staff Chung Chung-kil also announced that he will step down.

When senior presidential secretaries suggested that all of them resign at a meeting on the election results, Chung is known to have said, “A collective resignation is undesirable,” adding “I’ll resign to assume all responsibility.”

After hearing of Chung’s intent to resign, President Lee reportedly replied, “Let’s take the election results as an opportunity to reflect on ourselves and focus on reviving the economy.”

President Lee is known to be considering the direction of his administration for the second half of his term in addition to a personnel reshuffle. What solutions he will present is drawing attention.

Chairman Chung told a meeting of senior party officials, “We did our best but failed to win the hearts and minds of the people,” and offered his resignation.

“The election results are the people’s request for the ruling and opposition parties to cooperate in resolving pending issues in administration. The Grand National Party will turn the elections into an opportunity to recover public support.”

Party secretary-general Chung Byung-kook, who was in charge of the elections, and other members of the party’s supreme council also resigned. Floor leader Kim Moo-sung and chief policymaker Ko Heung-kil will remain at their posts, however.

Chairman Chung will preside over his final supreme council meeting Monday on devising a plan to set up an emergency countermeasures committee. Kim is expected to chair the committee and will lead the party until its national convention early next month.

After its transition to an emergency system, however, the ruling party is expected to face internal conflict between those loyal to President Lee and those supporting former party chief Park Geun-hye over responsibility for the election defeat and party hegemony, according to experts.

Separately, Prime Minister Chung Un-chan told a staff meeting, “Taking this opportunity, we should be more humble in serving and communicating with the people and respect public opinions.”

Kim ignored a request for a mass resignation from opposition parties, saying, “The prime minister will work as scheduled tomorrow.”

An official at the Prime Minister’s office, said, however, “The prime minister also feels burdened by the election results.”