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Na leaning against running for PPP leadership

10:23 January 25, 2023

SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- Na Kyung-won, one of the leading potential contenders in the ruling People Power Party's (PPP) leadership race, has decided against running in the wake of a row with the office of President Yoon Suk Yeol, sources said Wednesday.

Na made the decision following intensive discussions with close aides, multiple sources said.

She plans to announce the decision at a press conference set for 11 a.m.

Whether Na will run or not has been a key focus of attention, because her running could significantly affect the chances of Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon, the current front-runner, widely believed to be backed by Yoon's office.

The race carries added significance, as the next leader would oversee the party through next year's parliamentary elections and could affect decisions on who should be given party nominations.

Though Na has not officially declared her bid yet, she is a strong favorite in the PPP leadership race, placing among the top three favorite candidates alongside Kim and Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo in the latest opinion polls.

Yoon's office has openly expressed opposition to Na's running, rebuffing a proposal she proposed as vice chair of the presidential population committee and firing her not only as vice chair of the committee but also as climate ambassador.

Tensions further escalated after Yoon's chief of staff, Kim Dae-ki, openly rebuffed her claims that Yoon's decision to fire her as vice chair of a presidential committee and a climate ambassador could have been influenced by "distorted" accounts from those against her.

Former lawmaker Na Kyung-won talks to the press as she enters her residence in Seoul on Jan. 19, 2023. (Yonhap)

mlee@yna.co.kr
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