PPP schedules national committee meetings to approve transition to emergency leadership

SEOUL-- The ruling People Power Party (PPP) said Wednesday it will convene a meeting of standing members of the party's national committee later this week to discuss switching to an emergency leadership system after breaking up the current leadership.

Rep. Suh Byung-soo, chair of the PPP's national committee, said the standing committee members' meeting will be held Friday and a plenary national committee meeting will take place on Tuesday next week to approve the leadership transition.

"We plan to wrap up all procedures that should be made during the national committee meetings by Tuesday next week and by Wednesday at the latest," Suh told a press briefing at the National Assembly, adding the process may be delayed by a day or two due to its complexity.

Approval by the national committee is necessary in order for the party to shift to the "emergency committee" leadership that is supposed to be formed when the party's Supreme Council is disabled or in other emergency situations.

The PPP has been in turmoil since acting Chairman Kweon Seong-dong inadvertently exposed text messages he exchanged with President Yoon Suk-yeol last week, in which Yoon was seen backbiting about suspended party chief Lee Jun-seok.

Party members raised questions about Kweon's leadership and urged him to take responsibility for the incident, which has accelerated drops in Yoon's approval ratings to below 30 percent in some surveys, unusually low ratings for a president less than three months in office.

Some Supreme Council members quit the top decision-making body in an apparent effort to disable it so that the party can shift to the emergency committee system. Kweon also resigned as acting chairman of the party and agreed to switch to the emergency system.

Earlier in the day, a ranking PPP lawmaker claimed that the ruling party should run the interim leadership system for the shortest possible time until a national convention is held to elect a new leader.

Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon, a former floor leader seen as one of the candidates for party chairman, said that the envisioned emergency committee system should run the party for only about two months before new leadership takes over.

"The emergency committee system should run for the shortest period possible," Kim said on CBS radio, adding that some party members say the emergency committee should operate only until late September or early October.

"It's ridiculous that the ruling party is launching an emergency committee system early on in the president's term. We need to swiftly resolve this grave situation and normalize the party."

Kim dismissed views that the emergency system's timeline should be aligned with suspended leader Lee's scheduled comeback in January.

"We need to make a judgment based on what would be the most effective and desirable way to prop up falling ratings. Making that judgment based on whether a specific person will or will not return to the party is nonsense."

On extending the term of the leader elected through the national convention, Kim said the term should be set until June when Lee's term was initially due to end.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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