Conservative Party Infighting and Civil War Continues
SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Yonhap) -- The ethics committee of the ruling Saenuri Party on Friday suspended the membership of key loyalists to President Park Geun-hye as part of a sweeping reform drive led by its new chief.
Rep. Suh Chung-won and Rep. Choi kyoung-hwan had their memberships put on hold for three years, and Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun for one year.
The committee said the decision came as Suh, an eight-term lawmaker, sparked the factional feud that adversely affected the party's overall image. Saenuri has been facing its biggest political crisis after Park's impeachment, with some 30 lawmakers leaving the party to establish their own political alliance, the Bareun Party.
Party leader In Myung-jin has been seeking to remove key Park allies to salvage the party from the crisis caused by a scandal that led to Park's impeachment in December.
Earlier this week, the party also decided to suspend the membership of Rep. Kim Hyun-ah, a lawmaker elected as a proportional representative, for three years as she sought to defect to the splinter Bareun Party.
Suh is expected to file a lawsuit against the legitimacy of the establishment of the ethics committee, indicating the party's feud will continue for the time being.
On President Park, the committee said it has decided to put on hold measures to punish her, although the situation may change in the future.
The suspension of membership, meanwhile, is expected to deal a critical blow to the lawmakers' evaluation to be nominated as candidates for the next general election slated for 2020.
Meanwhile, the planned Bareun Party on Friday condemned the ruling Saenuri Party for punishing one of its proportional lawmakers Rep. Kim Hyun-ah, a lawmaker elected as a proportional representative, for three years as she decided to join Bareun.
The Bareun Party, which will officially set sail later this month, was established with some 30 lawmakers who defected from Saenuri after clashing with loyalists of President Park Geun-hye. The president has been impeached on corruption charges. One of the members wanting to join included Kim, who would lose her lawmaker status if she leaves Saenuri voluntarily.
At present Kim can keep her status as a lawmaker despite her membership being suspended.
The Bareun Party said it will seek to adopt a law that allows proportional lawmakers to keep their lawmakers' status even if they leave their original party.'