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Ruling party’s factional feud intensifies

Internal feud escalated at the ruling Saenuri Party over the recent passage of a bill enabling legislators to demand amendments to government decrees.

Members loyal to President Park Geun-hye raised their calls for the floor leader to resign from the post for the controversial passage, while the non-mainstreamers criticized Cheong Wa Dae for crossing the line and stoking internal conflict.

Rep. Lee Jang-woo on Wednesday urged the party’s floor leader Rep. Yoo Seung-min, to step down from his seat to take responsibility for the passage by giving in to the opposition’s demands that Cheong Wa Dae strongly opposed later as being unconstitutional.

“Yoo should be held accountable,” said Lee in an interview with a local broadcaster. “Despite his title as a floor leader, he has expressed his personal views too often. He should mitigate the difference between the party and the president, but he has instead triggered the conflicts,” said Lee.

The pro-Park members held a closed-door meeting Tuesday to discuss their calls for Yoo’s resignation.

The argument, however, was rebuked by such members as senior member Rep. Lee Jae-oh.

Lee instead said Yoo should be applauded for successfully finalizing negotiation with the opposition party.

“We need to give Yoo a word of encouragement,” said Lee. “Yoo did not unilaterally passed the law. We, the supreme council, have gathered before to give endorsement to him. I understand there is controversy over the law, but what we should do first is to tell him that he did a good job,” said Lee.

The former rival to President Park in the run up to the 2012 presidential candidacy, Lee also took aim at Cheong Wa Dae, saying, “Does this government even have any common sense by instigating internal conflict at such a time when it should be dealing with the (MERS spread)?”

Meanwhile, Saenuri Party leader Kim Moo-sung urged the lawmakers to stop the blame game, stressing there are no factions within the party.

The latest feud, meanwhile, highlighted the ups and downs in relations between President Park and Yoo.

Yoo, the third-term lawmaker, began his political career by working for Park when she was serving as the leader of Grand National Party, a forerunner to Saenuri party. He served as a top aide to support Park’s party leadership and her bid to be the party’s presidential candidate in 2007.

Their relations began to sour in 2011 when Park served as chief of the party’s emergency panel. He publicly criticized Park’s positions, including her decision to change the party’s name from Grand National Party to Saenuri Party.

Even though he vowed to do his “utmost” to support Park in his election to be floor leader, he has continued to clash with the president over her welfare policies, such as by dismissing a policy as a false commitment.

By Yeo Jun-suk (jasonyeo@heraldcorp.com)
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