Interim leader vows to fight factionalism in main opposition party
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SEOUL, July 17 (Yonhap) -- The new interim leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) on Tuesday pledged to fight factional and ideology-biased politics to rebuild the conservative party tattered in corruption scandals and electoral debacles.
The party's national committee approved Kim Byong-joon, a former senior policy secretary to late liberal President Roh Moo-hyun, as the head of its emergency leadership committee, one day after the professor was nominated Monday.
"I have a dream of making Korean politics free from factions. Instead, I hope that debates on values for the future and policies will set the central stage in politics," Kim said in his acceptance speech.
Kim is tasked with leading the reformation of the troubled party, which has been embroiled in deepening internal strife following its crushing defeat in the June local elections.
The party won only two of the 17 big-city mayoral and gubernatorial races, and added only one parliamentary seat on June 13. It has more than 110 seats in the 300-member National Assembly.
Despite the launch of the new leadership panel, it is uncertain how much Kim will be able to exert authority or how long the emergency team will operate.
Kim Sung-tae, the floor leader of the LKP, raised the need to give full authority to Kim to bolster the reform drive. But party members aligned with former President Park Geun-hye are opposed to the move.
The new chief also served as deputy prime minister for education in 2006 under the Roh administration.
Park nominated him for the prime minister in 2016 in the face of fierce public criticism over her leadership. But she withdrew the nomination amid a backlash and was later impeached in a corruption and power abuse scandal.