Key loyalists to President Park Geun-hye in the ruling Saenuri Party vowed to maintain their membership despite the interim head's request to leave the party by Friday, casting a cloud over the monthslong factional feud.
In Myung-jin, the interim head, earlier asked loyalists to leave the party by this week in line with the move to normalize the party that's been struck by the impeachment of Park in December.
While the party became the second-largest group within the National Assembly because of the defection, In insisted that loyalists must leave in order to respond to the public's backlash over Saenuri's link to the president, and its failure to check the abuse of power by Park's close friend.
Among the list of the lawmakers to be purged was eight-term Rep. Suh Chung-won, who made clear he had no intention of accepting In's request Friday.
Suh and In have been exchanging invectives against each other, rubbing salt into their wounds.
Tens of lawmakers handed "carte blanche" to the party Thursday, requesting In to determine their fate. But some lawmakers said only a few lawmakers on the list were actually the targets of the purge.
"Suh and Rep. Choi Kyung-hwan are at the center, but the two are unlikely to resign," a loyalist lawmaker said.
Another pro-Park lawmaker said Suh seems deeply disappointed and even feels betrayed by In's aggressive action. Choi has not commented on In's request. (Yonhap)