Vice Assembly Speaker Chung agrees to take over as PPP’s interim chief

SEOUL-- Vice National Assembly Speaker Chung Jin-suk agreed Wednesday to assume the chairmanship of a new emergency leadership committee to be established at the ruling People Power Party (PPP) and pledged to swiftly recoup the embattled party.

The party turned to Chung after Park Joo-sun, a former four-term lawmaker who had long been associated with the opposition Democratic Party, rejected an offer from the party to serve as chairman of the envisioned emergency committee.

Chung also initially turned down the offer but agreed to take it on the third request, officials said.

"I'll stabilize the ruling party for the success of the Yoon Suk-yeol administration. I'll establish firm fundamentals for the party," the five-term lawmaker said in a press conference announcing his decision.

Chung apologized over the leadership turmoil that has plagued the party for the past few months, saying he "hopes to erase with an eraser the party's internal conflict and division if he could."

He pledged to recover the party swiftly by launching the new committee on Thursday and hinted that the party will pick a new floor leader later this month.

The PPP has been in leadership turmoil since its ethics committee suspended former party Chairman Lee Jun-seok's membership due to allegations of sexual bribery and an attempted cover-up in July.

Lee has since filed a string of lawsuits to derail the party's move toward the emergency committee, which automatically removes him from office.

Chung left room for the party's reconciliation with the former chairman, saying there is no reason he cannot meet Lee.

The PPP has been without an official leader since a court suspended the duties of the chair of the now dissolved emergency leadership committee last month, a decision seen as a victory for the ousted chairman.

On Monday, the PPP's emergency committee officially broke up, and the party plans to form a new one before the Chuseok fall harvest holiday. The extended Chuseok holiday is set to begin Friday.

Chung's appointment is set to be finalized in a national committee meeting on Thursday.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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