After a heated debate, the Saenuri Party leaders on Wednesday overruled its vetting committee’s proposal to refrain from nominating candidates for the April 24 local by-elections.
“The Supreme Council discussed plans to not issue nominations in provincial government and council elections but a conclusion was not reached. The council will work on new plans,” Saenuri Party secretary general Seo Byung-soo told reporters. Seo also heads the nomination review committee.
The proposal faced strong opposition from some members of the top decision-making body and related laws needed to be revised first to enable candidate nominations to be made according to fair standards, he added.
Reformist lawmakers including Rep. Nam Kyung-pil said that bold actions for political reform would win over the public though the party might face difficulties in elections if the opposition parties nominated candidates.
Those opposing the plans including Rep. Chung Woo-taik said that not nominating candidates amounted to the Saenuri Party waiving its rights as a political party.
Abolishing the system of nominating candidates for local elections was a key political reform pledge during the presidential election last year.
The plans came in the aftermath of a series of allegations of backroom dealings involving both opposition and ruling party lawmakers during the nomination process for last year’s general elections.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com