South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun said Thursday he would leave the ruling party if members ask him, amid recent moves by politicians seeking to distance themselves from his unpopular administration.

There have been several recent defections from the Uri Party ahead of this December's presidential vote, with lawmakers moving to create a new party that won't be linked to Roh.

"If it's because of me that they say they want to leave the party, then I will leave," Roh said at his annual news conference.

Roh's leaving the party wouldn't directly affect his ability to govern.