A total of 29 former Saenuri Party members of the National Assembly declared the formation of a new party, provisionally named the ‘Reformist New Conservative Party.’ In the declaration, the former Saenuriy lawmakers declared, “The pro-Park Geun-hye hegemonist faction of the Saenuri Party has ruined the party and at this juncture we have decided to form a new conservative party strictly adhering to the provisions of the Constitutional Law of the Republic of Korea.”
This came in the wake of series mass demonstrations of the people across the country demanding the resignation of President Park Geun-hye assuming responsibility for the misapropriation of government power and authority for personal gains allegedly perpetrated by Mrs. Choi Soon-shil, the controversial ‘friend’ of President Park.
They said that they would stick to the principle that the people and the Constitutional Law were above the President and the lawmakers.
They also cited the despair on the part of the people over the recent development in the Korean society where they were totally disappointed over the Choi Sun-shil Case where President Park and Mrs. Choi Soon-shil took the Consittional Law into their own hands.
They also recalled that the pro-Park Geun-hye faction of the Saenuri Party failed to assume responsibility for the humiliating defeat suffered at the general elections and even at the time when President Park Geun-hye was fully exposed to impeachment.
Introducing the political line of the new party, Rep. Yoo Seung-min declared, “We are traditionally conservatives as far as the national security is concerned at at the time also a reformist conservatives when it comes to economy.”
Originally, a total of 35 members of the Saenuri Party had expressed their intention to leave the party, but the actually number was 29 with the six others taking a wait-and-see attitude stating that they would join the new party on a later date.
The 27th of December this year marked a significant historical turning point in the political arena in Korea.
The day brought the status of the Saenuri Party of President Park Geun-hye from the ruling party status to a Number 2 party with its total number of seats at the National Assembly reduced down to mere 99 which is 28 seats smaller than the main opposition Minjoo Party. The new strength of the different political parties is as follows:
Main opposition Mjinjoo Party: 121
Saenurity Party (loyal to President Park Geun-hye): 99
People’s Party of Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo: 38
Break-away group from Saenurity Party led by Reps. Kim Moo-sung and Yoo Seung-min: 30
Justice Party lead by Rep. Mrs. Shin Sam-jeong: 6
Non-alighned independent lawmakes: 6
Originally, as was briefly mentioned earlier, a total of 38 lawmakers of the Saenuri Party had declared that they would bolt from the party, including the influential lady lawmaker, Madam Nah Kyung-won, but the actual number of them dwindled down to 29 as Rep. Nah and eight others decided to remain in the Saenuri Party pending a ‘right’time that might come.
A poll conducted on the popularity rating of the Presidential hopefuls on the same day against this backdrop showed not much change on the supporting rate of the different candidates.
A typical one conducted and published by Real Meter on Dec. 27 showed:
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of the United Nations: 23.3%
Main opposition Minjoo Party leader Moon Jae-in: 23.1%
Mayor Lee Jae-myung of the Seongnam City (east of Seoul): 12.3%
Former Chairman Ahn Cheol-soo of the second opposition People’s Party: 8.2%
Governor Ahn Hee-jeong of the Chungcheongnam-do Province: 4.9%
Mayor Park Won-soon of the Seoul City: 3.9%
Former Mayor Oh Se-hoon of the Seoul City: 3.8%
Moderarte conservative political leader Sohn Hak-kyu: 3.5%
Former National Assemblyman Yoo Seung-min: 2.5%
Gyeonggi Province Governor Nam Kyung-pil: 1.9%
UN Secretary General Ban gained 2.8% following the de-facto declaration by him to join the upcoming Presidential election race in Korea--overtaking Moon who had been the front-runner. Political observers reasoned that Ban’s gain reflects the people’s turning their attention to Ban following the breakup of the reform-minded lawmakers of the Saenuri Party after the unprecedentedly notorious scandal involving Mrs. Choi Soon-shil, known as the ‘queen-maker’ of President Park. Following this situation, Ban overtook Moon by 0.2%.