Ruling party to hold national convention to pick new leadership

Mar 08, 2023, 09:10 am

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Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo and former Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn attend a press conference at the National Assembly in Seoul on March 7, 2023, calling on Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon to withdraw from the election to pick a new leader for the ruling People Power Party (PPP)./ Photographed by Lee Byung-hwa

AsiaToday reporter Chun Hyun-bin

The ruling People Power Party (PPP) will hold a national convention on Wednesday to elect its new leader.

The role of the new PPP leader seems more important than ever as he must lead the 22nd general election to victory. As the results of the election will determine whether to break away from the current structure where the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) is a majority, the fate of the Yoon Suk-yeol government depends on the ruling party.

According to the ruling party on Tuesday, turnout in the PPP’s ongoing vote to elect a new leader hit 54.6 percent as of 4 p.m. on Wednesday, breaking the all-time high. This is the total of the results of mobile and phone voting. If no candidates secures a majority, there will be a runoff between the two candidates with the most votes before the new chair is confirmed by Sunday.

Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon, who has been leading the race by a wide margin in various polls, aims to win a majority in the first round of voting, while three other candidates - Ahn Cheol-soo, Chun Ha-ram, and Hwang Kyo-ahn, aim to reverse the finals by keeping the front-runner in check. It is not easy to predict the results since the upcoming national convention will be the first to take place since the ruling party has changed its rule to pick its leader only by party member votes. 

Even if the new leadership is launched, there are many challenges, such as resolving conflicts within the party. The controversy that officials at the presidential office have allegedly rallied support for Rep. Kim in a mobile chat room with party members, has emerged as a last-minute variable ahead of the national convention.

“I have found a very strong support in the field,” Rep. Kim said on YTN radio, adding, “The party members were angry at the growing internal strife during the election campaign, and I can feel that they are giving me strong support.” Candidates Ahn and Hwang held a press conference and said, “We cannot just sit by and watch the party being swayed by lies,” adding, “We have agreed to commit ourselves to protecting the People Power Party and President Yoon Suk-yeol.”

“Apart from the investigation against Kim, strict measures such as disciplinary action should be taken,” Hwang said. Regarding the reason for the press conference ahead of the convention, he said, “There are happy festivals, but establishing justice is also a festival.” The former prime minister said the national convention should be a festival of party members that “normalize the party’s abnormalities” and a “bridgehead for winning next year’s general elections.” The two candidates emphasized, “The truth must be revealed even after the national convention because it is directly related to the party’s morality and the fairness of the government.”

Meanwhile, President Yoon Suk-yeol will be the first president to attend a ruling party event in order to emphasize harmony for the success of the new government and ask for support. 

#People Power Party #national convention #new leader #chairman 
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