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Ruling party to hold crisis meeting after court suspends interim leader

An authority enters the Chairman Chamber of the Emergency Leadership Committee of the People Power Party in Yeouido, Seoul, on Friday. (Yonhap)
An authority enters the Chairman Chamber of the Emergency Leadership Committee of the People Power Party in Yeouido, Seoul, on Friday. (Yonhap)

Lawmakers of the ruling People Power Party are set to hold a meeting Saturday to cope with the aftermath of the previous day's court ruling that suspended interim leader Joo Ho-young from duty.

The Seoul Southern District Court on Friday granted an injunction requested by ousted People Power Party leader Lee Jun-seok, throwing the conservative party into a new leadership turmoil, just 10 days after its emergency leadership committee took off.

The crisis meeting, called by floor leader Kweon Seong-dong, will be held at the National Assembly at 4 p.m., party officials said.

In early July, the party suspended Lee's membership for six months over allegations of sexual bribery and an attempted cover-up.

Kweon then took over as acting leader but came under fire in late July after text messages between him and President Yoon Suk-yeol, in which Yoon was seen backbiting about Lee, were leaked to the media.

The People Power Party last week switched to an emergency leadership system, headed by Joo, automatically removing Lee from office.

Citing a "procedural error" with the transition, Lee filed for an injunction and a separate lawsuit seeking to nullify the validity of the emergency committee.

The court ruled Friday in favor of Lee in the injunction suit.

It ruled the party was not in an emergency warranting such a transition and ordered Joo's duties be suspended until there comes a decision in the main lawsuit.

The party immediately appealed the decision, calling it "an excessive violation of a political party's autonomous and internal decision-making."

During Saturday's meeting, the lawmakers are expected to focus on its future leadership system.

Observers said the party may opt to maintain the emergency committee under an acting chief with floor leader Kweon widely expected to be named to the post. 

The party said the court decision only affected Joo's status and that the emergency committee itself is valid until the court delivers a ruling in the main lawsuit.

If the party decides to keep the current system, Lee will file for a new injunction seeking the suspension of all committee members from duty, an aide to the former chairman said.

The court's order was tantamount to an invalidation of the committee, he noted.

The court denied that the PPP was in an emergency, an argument the mainstream of the party used to justify the creation of the emergency panel, the aide said. (Yonhap)