Ruling Saenuri Party presidential candidate Park Geun-hye and Rhee In-je of the minor conservative Advancement and Unification Party on Wednesday agreed to merge their parties. A Saenuri spokesman said, "Park and Lee met informally and exchanged their views on a merger."
The spokesman added, "Opinions were split within both parties whether it is better to merge or form a coalition. But it seems they decided to merge as they share the same values and views in line with Park's presidential campaign slogan to stress social cohesion."
Officials from both parties will meet as early as Thursday to sign a memorandum of understanding on the merger. An AUP spokesman said, "Although the MOU is not legally binding, it does express the desire of both sides to join forces and enter full-fledged talks."
If the two parties merge, the Saenuri Party's 149 seats would rise to 153 or more than half of the 300 seats in the National Assembly.