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Saenuri to launch panel for primary next week

The ruling Saenuri Party plans to form an election committee next week that will oversee its presidential primary, the party’s secretary general said Wednesday, balking at calls to launch a preparatory committee first to revise primary rules.

Minor contenders such as Gyeonggi Province Governor Kim Moon-soo and Rep. Chung Mong-joon have called strongly for new primary rules, claiming the current system is favorable to former party chief Park Geun-hye.

They demand the party first set up a primary preparatory committee to discuss rule changes.

But floor leader Rep. Suh Byung-soo said Wednesday that the party should form a full-pledged committee on Monday as there is not enough time for a preparatory committee.

Under the current primary rules, the ruling party’s presidential candidate is determined based on the combination of votes, roughly half from party members and the other half from ordinary citizens. Minor contenders have called for the winner to be determined entirely from votes from ordinary citizens.

Park and other members close to her have been negative about the “open primary” proposal, saying it makes no sense to “adjust game rules to athletes” and that the “athletes” should adjust to the game rules.

Park consolidated her standing as a leading presidential hopeful of the party after rebuilding the once-beleaguered party with sweeping reform measures and leading it to a widely unexpected victory in the April general elections. 

(Yonhap News)
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