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(4th LD) Ruling party to form new emergency committee after interim leader's duty suspension

22:43 August 27, 2022

(ATTN: ADDS more details in last 5 paras)

SEOUL, Aug. 27 (Yonhap) -- Members of the ruling People Power Party (PPP) decided Saturday to form a new emergency leadership committee following a court ruling that suspended interim leader Joo Ho-young from duty, party officials said.

The decision was made during an hourslong crisis meeting held earlier in the day, one day after the Seoul Southern District Court granted an injunction requested by ousted PPP leader Lee Jun-seok, citing a "procedural error" with the transition.

"Under the unprecedented circumstances, we've decided to revise party regulations first and to set up a new emergency committee," PPP spokesperson Park Hyeung-soo and Yang Kum-hee said.

Friday's court ruling threw the party into a fresh turmoil, as it was made just 10 days after its emergency leadership committee took off.

Joo Ho-young (C), interim leader of the ruling People Power Party, answers reporters' questions before a meeting of the party's emergency leadership committee at the National Assembly in Seoul on Aug. 27, 2022, one day after the Seoul Southern District Court suspended his role, accepting an injunction request by the party's ousted chair, Lee Jun-seok. (Yonhap)

In early July, the party suspended Lee's membership for six months over allegations of sexual bribery and an attempted cover-up.

Floor leader Kweon Seong-dong then took over as acting leader but came under fire in late July after text messages between him and President Yoon Suk-yeol, in which Yoon was seen backbiting about Lee, were leaked to the media.

The PPP last week switched to an emergency leadership system, headed by Joo, automatically removing Lee from office.

Lee then filed for an injunction and a separate lawsuit seeking to nullify the validity of the emergency committee.

The court ruled Friday in favor of Lee in the injunction suit, saying that the PPP was not in an emergency warranting such a transition and ordering Joo's duties be suspended until there comes a decision in the main lawsuit.

The PPP immediately appealed the decision, calling it "an excessive violation of a political party's autonomous and internal decision-making."

Kweon Seong-dong, floor leader of the ruling People Power Party, speaks on the phone as he heads to a meeting of the party's emergency leadership committee at the National Assembly in Seoul on Aug. 27, 2022, one day after the Seoul Southern District Court suspended interim leader Joo Ho-young from duty, accepting an injunction request by the party's ousted chair, Lee Jun-seok. (Yonhap)

The party plans to hold a general meeting early next week to discuss the revision of party rules for the establishment of a new committee, according to the officials.

Some have said the party could opt to maintain the current committee, but the PPP decided to seek a new entity as Lee vowed to file for a fresh injunction seeking the suspension of all committee members from duty in case the party keeps the current system.

The party, however, said the current emergency committee itself is still valid until the court delivers a ruling in the main lawsuit, as Friday's decision only affected Joo's status.

During the meeting, the party members also agreed to hold another meeting later on whether to have Kweon take due responsibility over the recent party turmoil.

They also called for additional disciplinary measures against Lee, claiming he has hampered the smooth operation of the party and President Yoon's state affairs.

This Aug. 17, 2022, file photo shows Lee Jun-seok (C), ousted leader of the ruling People Power Party, appearing at the Seoul Southern District Court for a hearing on his injunction request against the party's transition to an emergency leadership system. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)


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