The main opposition party will make a high-stakes decision this week over whether to sever ties with corruption-tainted former President Park Geun-hye, a source said Tuesday, as it pushes to unite the fractured conservative bloc.
The Liberty Korea Party's ethics panel will convene Wednesday to discuss whether to accept its reform panel's recommendation to ask Park and two of her allies to leave the party, the source told Yonhap News Agency on condition of anonymity.
Their departure would mark a culmination of the LKP's monthslong efforts to renew its image, restore public support, pave the way for a merger with its splinter Bareun Party and achieve what it calls a "grand unity" among right-wingers.
|This photo, taken Oct. 16, 2017, shows former President Park Geun-hye leaving a Seoul court after a hearing. (Yonhap)|
"The ethics panel will hold a session tomorrow to discuss the issue of the former president's party membership," the source said.
Another source said that the LKP has, through various channels, communicated to Park's side its stance on her party affiliation. The source did not elaborate further.
Calls for the LKP to delist Park from the party roster escalated after a Seoul court decided Friday to extend her detention. She has been on trial in a massive corruption scandal that led to her ousting in March.
Should the panel decide to ask her to leave the party, it would send a notification to her. Park then has to submit to the party a written consent within 10 days, after which the party can strip her of party membership.
Still, the party is divided. Some members argue her membership should remain intact in the face of "political retribution" from the ruling liberal bloc, while others say the party has to hold Park strictly responsible for sullying the party image and undermining conservative values in the wake of the scandal.
But the rationale for Park's departure originates from without. Park's party affiliation has long been a major hurdle to achieving a tie-up with the Bareun Party. Reformist members of the minor party have demanded the LKP remove all traces of the ill-fated politician.
The Bareun Party splintered off from the LKP late last year amid a factional feud over the unprecedented scandal involving Park and her friend Choi Soon-sil. (Yonhap)