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NPAD lawmaker bolts from party

Third-term Rep. Park Joo-sun bolted from the main opposition party to create a new one Tuesday, claiming the New Political Alliance for Democracy had run its course under the current leadership.

The prosecutor-turned-politician said at a press conference that he would move to reorganize the opposition bloc and build an alternative political force, dealing yet another blow to NPAD chairman Rep. Moon Jae-in.

Rep. Park Joo-sun answers reporters` questions at the National Assembly on Tuesday. Yonhap
Rep. Park Joo-sun answers reporters` questions at the National Assembly on Tuesday. Yonhap

Park joins a couple of other opposition politicians who have pledged to launch new parties, including independent Rep. Chun Jung-bae and former South Jeolla Gov. Park Joon-young.

While all three have for the time being vowed to focus on their individual activities, there is speculation that they may seek to team up against the NPAD ahead of next year’s general election.

“I plan to meet with (Chun and Park) in the near future,” the lawmaker said. All three hail from or represent Jeolla Province, the opposition’s political home turf.

His move follows Moon’s decision a day before to cancel a vote of confidence that was seen as an attempt to temporarily silence his dissenters.

Park’s defection had been widely anticipated as he was one of the party’s most vocal dissenters.

“Although I have waited a long time for the NPAD to change through innovation, I have grown very skeptical whether the party will be able to seize the next administration,” Park said.

Park entered politics in 2000 by winning in the South Jeolla Province constituency after serving as a legal affairs secretary in the Kim Dae-jung administration. Earlier, he served in various key posts as a prosecutor. He currently represents Dong-gu of Gwangju.

Since the election of Moon as party chairman in February this year, Park has openly said that he would leave the party unless the factional hegemony led by the forces loyal to former President Roh Moo-hyun was discarded.

He becomes the first NPAD lawmaker to have discarded his party membership voluntarily.

This is not the first time that he has left the party. In the past, he left and rejoined the party repeatedly in the course of his arrest and acquittal on corruption charges through the years.

Views were split on whether Park’s move would prompt an exodus of other disgruntled NPAD members.

“When the party stabilizes around chairman Moon, we will be able to recover our momentum. No one from the nonmainstream faction has announced they will actually defect,” a two-term lawmaker said on condition of anonymity.

Rep. Cho Kyoung-tae, meanwhile, said, “Wouldn’t such a decision be inevitable as no amount of efforts seem to be working to win back the Jeolla Province voters under Moon’s leadership.”

From news reports