(LEAD) Ruling party decides to pursue reforms with current leadership intact

The ruling People Power Party (PPP) said Sunday it has decided to pursue reforms in the wake of its recent by-election defeat while keeping its current leadership intact.

PPP floor leader Rep. Yun Jae-ok said the decision was reached during a general meeting of party lawmakers earlier in the day, which came after Wednesday's by-election for chief of Seoul's Gangseo Ward was won by the candidate of the main opposition Democratic Party.

The by-election had been considered a test of voter sentiment ahead of next April's parliamentary elections.

"We decided to respect the public sentiment displayed through the Gangseo Ward by-election and quickly come up with measures for change and reform, with Chairman Kim at the center," Yun told reporters after the meeting, referring to PPP leader Kim Gi-hyeon.

Yun said Kim vowed to strengthen communication between the party and the government, and honestly convey the people's wishes to the government.

He also said the party decided to launch a party reform committee and a general election planning team, while also forming a talent scouting committee.

Consensus was also reached on focusing the party's attention on helping restore people's livelihoods and protecting the socially vulnerable.

The party additionally decided to choose from among people hailing from the capital area and the Chungcheong provinces to fill the vacancies left by Saturday's resignations of appointed party officials, including Secretary General Lee Chul-gyu and chief policymaker Park Dae-chul, who took responsibility for the election defeat.

The PPP leader reportedly told lawmakers during the meeting that he will stake his political career on next year's general elections and leave politics if the party loses.

Nonmainstream lawmakers demanded Kim resign, saying the resignations of appointed party officials were not enough to give momentum to the PPP's reform efforts.

"Ultimately there was a consensus among Assembly members" on pursuing reform and change in party-government relations with Kim at the center, Yun said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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