"We should burn the ruling People Power Party (PPP), which is loyal to the organization," said Lee Jun-seok, chairman of the ruling PPP, at an emergency press conference held at the National Assembly Communication Hall in Yeouido, Seoul, on Aug. 13.
Lee said, "First of all, I apologize to the public and party members. I also feel a lot of remorse as I see the people who supported the PPP three times in a row turning their backs on the conservatives."
In the press conference held just a few days after the PPP amended the party charter to switch to an emergency leadership system and named five-term Rep. Joo Ho-young as the interim leader, he said, “The PPP's move to switch to an emergency leadership system is unfair and nonsense."
According to the party charter, Lee is supposed to lose his status as party chairman if the emergency leadership committee is established due to an emergency situation.
Lee's party membership was suspended last month by the PPP's ethics committee over allegations of sexual bribery and a cover-up, though he has claimed he is innocent.
Lee filed for an injunction against the PPP's leadership transition early this week. A hearing for Lee's court action will take place next week.
Accordingly, Lee's fate and political future are at risk depending on the court's decision. If the court rules in favor of Lee, his political power will be immediately restored. If not, Lee will be left with political scars amid criticism for taking legal action against his own party.
Lee also criticized President Yoon Suk-yeol and his core associates, called the “Yoonhaekgwan,” for not living up to people's expectations and losing public support.
Apparently affected by the turmoil, Yoon's approval rating has fallen below 30 percent, an unusually low figure for any South Korean President fewer than 100 days after taking office.