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GNP leader says won’t run in general election

Leading ruling party presidential hopeful Park Geun-hye has decided not to run in April’s parliamentary elections to focus more on her presidential bid later this year, a party official said Saturday.

“Ms. Park will announce her decision to drop out of the April general elections,” said an official from the ruling Grand National Party. “I can’t say the exact date of the announcement but I expect it to come before the Lunar New Year holiday.”

This year’s four-day Lunar New Year holiday falls on Jan. 21-24.

Park, 59, is currently heading an emergency council tasked with overhauling her party’s tarnished image ahead of the April general elections and the December presidential race.

The 11-member council is working to craft a comprehensive policy roadmap and nominate candidates to run in the parliamentary elections. The council is the GNP’s interim leadership created after its crushing defeat at the Seoul mayoral election in October.

Park, a fourth-term lawmaker, is the front-runner in the party’s presidential nomination race. According to party officials, her primary concern now is how to steer the party to victory in the parliamentary elections.

In an earlier radio interview, Park said she will step up reform efforts to win the parliamentary elections, declaring that “all party members including me should give up their vested rights.”

The ruling party has been hit by several scandals in recent months, including bombshell allegations that the former party chairman and current parliamentary speaker Park Hee-tae bought votes from fellow lawmakers ahead of a party leadership election in 2008. 

(Yonhap News)
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