Vice Nat’l Assembly Speaker Chung endorsed as ruling party’s new interim chief

SEOUL-- The ruling People Power Party (PPP) on Thursday approved Vice National Assembly Speaker Chung Jin-suk as its new interim leader, completing the process to launch a new emergency leadership committee.

The PPP's national committee passed a motion appointing Chung as the chair of the new emergency committee that will replace the old one, which a court effectively ruled invalid last month.

"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 Wednesday after announcing he took the party's offer to lead the new leadership.

Chung is considered one of Yoon's core associates -- known as "Yoonhaekgwan" in Korean -- though he denied the ties, saying he rarely has one-on-one communication with the president.

The PPP plans to appoint the rest of the emergency committee members next week.

But whether the new leadership can smoothly set sail remains uncertain, as the PPP's ousted chairman Lee Jun-seok filed another injunction suit against the national committee's approval.

Lee filed the injunction with the Seoul Southern District Court, seeking to suspend the duty of Chung.

Lee, whose party membership has been suspended due to allegations of sexual bribery and an attempted cover-up, has filed a string of lawsuits to derail the party's move toward the emergency committee and succeeded in dissolving the previous one.

Later Thursday, Rep. Kweon Seong-dong quit as the PPP's floor leader, saying he has finished his job of launching a new emergency leadership.

Kweon has been at the center of the PPP's leadership turmoil after he inadvertently was caught on a press camera exchanging text messages with Yoon, in which the president was seen backbiting about Lee, revealing the row between them.

"I feel responsible for the internal confusion as one of the party leaders," Kweon said but added that it was Lee's suspension that sparked the PPP's "leadership crisis."

The PPP plans to elect a new floor leader on Sept. 19.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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