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2017-11-06 16:52
Disgraced former President Park Geun-hye was kicked out of the Liberty Korea Party (LKP) Friday. Since she joined the Grand National Party, the precedent of the LKP, 20 years ago in 1997, she has been the very symbol of the party and icon of the conservatives by leading the party to win in Assembly and local elections. Now, she has been impeached, removed from office and standing trial on corruption charges.

Park has refused the party’s request to exit voluntarily.

The LKP’s decision appears to be inevitable for a fresh start for rallying back its supporters. However, few will think the LKP has become a fresh new conservative party that can rival the ruling liberal forces led by President Moon Jae-in only for kicking Park out. What the LKP should do is to make Park's removal a starting point to reform itself.

Urgent is the merger of the LKP and the breakaway Bareun Party, which was founded by defectors from the LKP. Nine Bareun members quit the party Monday and are expected to join the LKP. That is not enough, considering there are 11 holdouts and more importantly the merger can end up merely a cosmetic treatment.

LKP members, particularly those in the leadership, should give up their vested rights and sacrifice their personal and political interests, if they want to regain public support. The party also needs fresh young faces to improve its public image as a group of old-guard backroom wheelers and dealers. 

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