South Korea’s ruling party is to change its name for the second time in five years, it said on Monday, as it seeks to dissociate itself from the corruption scandal surrounding impeached President Park Geun-Hye.
“We will begin collecting public suggestions starting today and change the party name as soon as possible,” said party chairman In Myung-Jin.
The Saenuri, or New Frontier, party was formed from a merger of several centre-right parties in 1997 and known as the Grand National Party until 2012.
Park changed its name as part of an attempt to reform and regain voter support ahead of that year’s general elections, which it won.
Its various components and their predecessors ruled South Korea for decades during the country’s dictatorship and afterwards, and following 10 years in opposition its candidates have won the country’s last two presidential elections.
But a swirling corruption scandal has surrounded Park, centred on her confidante Choi Soon-Sil, with huge demonstrations demanding her resignation, and she was impeached by parliament last month.
The country’s supreme court is currently deciding whether to uphold the move. If it does so new elections must be held within 60 days.
Saenuri said most of its members supported a change of name, calling it the only way to give the party a “new life”.
It lost its position as the biggest party in parliament as a result of legislative elections last year and several of its lawmakers breaking away to found a new group, the Bareun, or Correct, party.