Han Dong-hoon, center, interim leader of the ruling People Power Party, speaks during a canvassing event in Asan, South Chungcheong Province, Tuesday. Yonhap

The ruling People Power Party (PPP) is distancing itself from President Yoon Suk Yeol, seemingly concerned that the declining popularity of the leader could further hamper the party’s already precarious position in the upcoming April 10 general elections.Yoon’s resolute stance on increasing the medical school admissions quota by 2,000 per year, emphasized in his televised speech on Monday, has exacerbated the PPP’s concerns that aligning with what could be perceived as a stubborn government could result in more drawbacks than benefits to its campaign strategy. The governing party has been struggling to reverse the current electoral landscape which currently favors its liberal rival, the Democratic Party of Korea (DPK).Some ruling party members criticized Yoon’s speech, where he spent 51 minutes explaining the rationale behind his medical reform plan. That plan was met with mass resignations of thousands of trainee doctors in protest. Despite opening the door for talks with doctors regarding the quota, many PPP members stated that the address failed to resonate with the public, which is expecting the government to devise an exit strategy and initiate negotiations with the striking doctors.

After Yoon’s speech, the PPP’s interim leader Han Dong-hoon said at a canvassing event, “The government’s management of state affairs might not meet your expectations, but I am not the one to blame,” he said, differentiating himself and his party from the government. “For the past 97 days, I’ve made changes whenever you requested them, and I’ll continue to do so in the future,” Han added.Some have voiced frustration over the situation, criticizing the Yoon administration for not demonstrating flexibility regarding the medical school quota issue.A PPP lawmaker vividly likened the situation to “the feeling of dinosaurs sensing extinction as they watch a comet flying toward the Earth,” as quoted by the local daily Kyunghyang Shinmun.Ham Woon-kyung, the PPP’s candidate running in Seoul’s Mapo-B constituency, demanded the president to “stay away from politics and give up his party membership,” in a bold protest against Yoon’s speech.But Ham retracted his comments just a day later, apologizing for going too far. But the candidate said he still believes the presidential office should show a shift in its stance.”Criticism is mounting over the president’s inflexible communication and governance approach. The recent public address failed to effectively alleviate public discontent surrounding the medical school admissions quota, which has emerged as a pivotal election issue,” 스포츠토토존 Ham told local radio CBS, Tuesday.

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