First lady’s text message to ex-PPP leader sparks PPP’s internal conflict

Jul 08, 2024, 09:03 am

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(From left) Rep. Na Kyung-won, former Land Minister Won Hee-ryong, Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun, and former PPP interim chief Han Dong-hoon, who are contenders for the ruling People Power Party (PPP) leadership, take photos in a ceremony pledging for a fair race ahead of the party’s national convention at the PPP headquarters in Seoul on July 5, 2024./ Source: Joint Press Corps

AsiaToday reporter Kim Myung-eun

First lady Kim Keon-hee’s text message to former ruling People Power Party (PPP) interim leader Han Dong-hoon is sparking internal conflict of the ruling party beyond the battle among the four main candidates of the party leadership race. 

Ahead of the July 23 national convention, some chairmen of the PPP’s outside party cooperation committee canceled to hold a press conference calling Han’s resignation on Monday. However, the controversy will leave a huge blow for the party. Han’s side is protesting strongly, claiming that the presidential office is intervening in party affairs. The contenders for the PPP leadership are continuing their battle by changing the targets of attack based on their positions. The presidential office seems concerned with the unexpected issue when the party’s leadership race is in full swing. The PPP plans to respond sternly in accordance with the party’s rules and regulations, saying that collective actions by some figures could harm the unity of the party.

“I heard that some politicians, including those in the election committee, are preparing to hold a press conference to demand my resignation because I asked for an apology publicly rather than through a private channel. There is a discussion of disqualifying me as a candidate by taking this matter to the Ethics Committee,” Han wrote on Facebook. The press conference demanding Han’s resignation was canceled due to the controversy. Park Jong-in, chairman of the Incheon Seo-gu Eul cooperation committee, who led the campaign, expressed his willingness to resign as a member of the election commission.

“Lawmakers and party chairmen who are not candidates are not allowed to campaign under the party rules,” the PPP Election Committee said. “Candidates or camp officials should not bring the presidential office into the election during the party convention for the sake of harmony within the party,” it warned. The presidential office denied any attempts to intervene in the national convention. “The presidential office has not intervened in the election process of the PPP convention, and will not do so in the future,” a high-ranking official of the presidential office said. 

The PPP seems to have beat the heat with the cancellation of the press conference. However, the controversy is unlikely to fade away. “The act of dragging the presidential office into the national convention to hide one’s own mistakes is an act that splits the party and shakes up the presidential office,” former Land Minister Won Hee-ryong wrote on Facebook on Sunday. 

Other PPP leadership hopefuls accused both Han and Won of political mudslinging. “This is why they lose the general elections,” Rep. Na Kyung-won, a five-term lawmaker, said. Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun also criticized both Han and Won, saying, “How could Han serve as the leader of the ruling party? Candidate Won who politically uses First Lady Kim Keon-hee’s apology should be cautious.”

#Kim Keon-hee #Han Dong-hoon #text message 
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