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(2nd LD) Park loyalist wins Saenuri floor-leader race

2016/12/16 12:24

(ATTN: RECASTS throughout with updates, ADDS photo)

By Kang Yoon-seung

SEOUL, Dec. 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's ruling Saenuri Party elected a loyalist of President Park Geun-hye as its new floor leader Friday, a result which may pave the way for an exodus of Park dissenters from the party.

Four-term lawmaker Rep. Chung Woo-taik and Rep. Lee Hyun-jae were elected as the floor leader and policy panel chief, respectively, beating their competitors from Park dissenters' group, Reps. Na Kyung-won and Kim Se-yeon. Chung grabbed 62 votes against Na's 55.

On Monday, Rep. Chung Jin-suk resigned as floor leader taking responsibility for the impeachment of Park last Friday over alleged corruption.

Pundits said the victory of Park allies despite the impeachment may prompt dissenters to leave Saenuri and establish their own party.

The new floor leader is set to serve as an acting chief if party chairman Lee Jung-hyun and other members of the Supreme Council, mostly pro-Park figures, resign next Wednesday as they promised earlier this week.

Rep. Chung Woo-taik (R) and Rep. Lee Hyun-jae (Yonhap) Rep. Chung Woo-taik (R) and Rep. Lee Hyun-jae (Yonhap)