Ruling party reform committee under pressure to disband
South Korean ruling party’s reform committee is facing the possibility of an early disbandment amid an internal backlash over its unpopular demands.
The People Power Party’s reform committee was formed on Oct. 26 to lay out a vision for realigning the party for the 2024 general election, and headed by a party outsider -- Yohan Ihn, a third-generation descendant of a US missionary who gave humanitarian aid during Japanese colonial times.
Ihn has announced a series of reform measures including ones that would bar lawmakers who served multiple terms from running in parts of the country that are traditionally ruling party-friendly.
He said that “establishment lawmakers” were recommended to launch their bids in Seoul, where the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea has strong support.
Third-time Rep. Chang Je-won, who won all three of his terms in Busan, a Southeastern city with a large ruling party base, is among the party’s lawmakers to openly revolt against the changes led by Ihn.
Chang announced Monday that he would not abide by the proposals, refusing to leave Busan.
The open protests among lawmakers prompted media speculation that the reform committee, which was already turning into a nominal body, may break up sooner than it was supposed to.
A reform committee spokesperson said in a text message statement late Monday that it has “always been a possibility from the beginning” that the committee could dissolve before the end of its term in late December if it’s “deemed to have served its purpose.”
The reform committee added that there was no discussion taking place within the party for a disbandment any time soon.
On resistance from lawmakers, Ihn has said earlier it was “healthy” to express disagreements and exchange views.