New Saenuri Party Leader's MAJOR SHADE: Calls President Park's Loyalists 'Imperious' and 'Irrational'
SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) -- The new leader of South Korea's ruling Saenuri Party threatened a sweeping purge of key loyalists to President Park Geun-hye on Friday, calling on them to leave the party within a week and take responsibility for the political scandal which led to her impeachment.
The remark by In Myung-jin, appointed the head of the emergency leadership panel the previous day, infuriated party seniors close to the president, presaging a new stage of feud for the conservative party.
"Those who raised the ire of the people with their imperious, imprudent and irrational words and deeds since the inauguration of President Park Geun-hye will be the targets of the personnel overhaul," he said during a meeting with the press.
"They disappointed the people in the April 13 parliamentary elections and are responsible for the party's failure to secure a parliamentary majority."
He said they should take responsibility by leaving the party voluntarily by Jan. 6.
His warning is expected to spark new internal fighting in the party which has already suffered through bitter factional rifts that led to a mass defection by anti-Park lawmakers early this week.
He declined to name specific figures, saying only, "They themselves and the public would know well who I am talking about."
Park loyalists fumed at his remarks, saying his purification campaign could lead to the dismantlement of Saenuri at a time the party urgently needs to heal divisions.
"It seems to be too broad," a pro-Park lawmaker said. "I will watch the development."
Other lawmakers said it is inappropriate to demand that existing members quit, adding party dissenters already left to form a separate party.
Saenuri faces its biggest crisis with the president impeached by parliament on Dec. 9 over a raft of corruption and influence-peddling allegations.
A group of 29 lawmakers left Saenuri earlier this week, forcing Saenuri to cede its position of largest party in parliament to the main opposition Democratic Party.'