Opposition presidential hopefuls call for ouster of Park loyalists

Potential presidential contenders from the opposition bloc on Thursday said South Korea must step up efforts to embrace political reform and cooperation and remove extreme conservatism, apparently citing the loyalists of President Park Geun-hye at the ruling party, source from the Yonhap.

Moon Jae-in, former head of the Democratic Party (R), and Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo, former head of the splinter People's Party, attend a panel discussion held in Seoul on Dec. 22, 2016. (Yonhap)

"We must end the era of the false conservatism which acted as the mainstream through Japan's colonial rule and military dictatorship," Moon Jae-in, former head of the Democratic Party, said during a panel discussion.

"The ruling Saenuri party, as well as others have damaged true conservatism. They only took advantage of security concerns to spark ideological conflict, and only sought to protect their privileges," Moon added.

Moon said the country needs to set up close cooperation among the government, parliament and parties, and overcome differences for the benefit of the country.

Saenuri is on the verge of splitting into two after a group of dissenters, estimated at around 35, announced they will kick off a new party, expressing disappointment with Park loyalists especially after the impeachment of the president.

Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo, former head of the splinter People's Party, echoed the view, and said he would fight against Park loyalists until they are completely removed from the country's political sector.

Sohn Hak-kyu, also a former leader of the main opposition party, said the country must commence debate on the constitutional revision that can prevent a president's excessive exercise of power.

"Now, it is inevitable to accept a multi-party system," Sohn said, referring to the split of Saenuri.

Sohn said the number of major parties, which will soon become four, may continue to increase down the road, and said it is inevitable to seek constitutional revision which can embrace such changes.

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