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Impeached South Korea leader implores conservatives to unite

Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye issued a letter Wednesday. File Photo by Yonhap
Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye issued a letter Wednesday. File Photo by Yonhap

March 4 (UPI) -- Former South Korean President Park Geun-hye has issued a letter calling on her country's conservatives to band together ahead of general elections in April.

Park, who remains confined to a prison cell following her impeachment in 2017, delivered the message to her attorney Yoo Young-ha, who read the letter at a press conference at the National Assembly, local networks JTBC and MBC reported Wednesday.

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In her message to her supporters, Park called on various right-wing factions to set aside their differences. At present, there are three conservative groups: the main opposition United Future Party, the minor Free Republican and Pro-Park New Parties, according to JTBC.

"I would like to ask those of you who have been flag bearers [for the Republic of Korea], to come together as one, and join forces around the majority opposition party," Park said, referring to the United Future Party led by politician Hwang Kyo-ahn.

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The United Future Party was formed after the center-right Bareunmirae Party merged with the former Liberty Korea Party.

Park also said she is with the conservatives, and that the nation is in great turmoil.

"Without dividing, please show a united stand before history and the [South Korean] people," the former leader said.

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Je Yoon-kyung, a spokeswoman for the ruling Democratic Party's election committee, condemned Park's letter, calling it an act of "demagoguery" that "denies the will of the people," or impeachment.

Park's impeachment in 2017 came after the former South Korean leader was convicted of colluding with a friend, Choi Soon-sil, so Choi could receive millions of dollars from major South Korean corporations. Park did not enrich herself, but a South Korean court found her guilty of bribery and coercion.

Park's supporters have said Park did nothing wrong.

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On Wednesday, Kim Hyun-oh, a politician with the United Future Party, called Park's letter the "right decision" and an act of patriotism.

South Korea goes to the polls on April 15.

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