중앙데일리

Chung and Shin readmitted to Democratic Party

돌아온 정동영…민주 주도권경쟁 점화
Move signals ‘unity,’ but power struggle expected for chairmanship

Feb 11,2010
Chung Dong-young
The Democratic Party yesterday readmitted Representatives Chung Dong-young and Shin Kuhn to its fold in a strategic move aimed at improving the party’s position in the local elections in June.

“I feel like I’m returning to my hometown after a long journey,” Chung said at a press conference after the decision, apologizing to his fellow party members for troubling them by his 2009 defection. “I will dedicate myself to open an era of a 30 percent approval rating for the Democratic Party.”

Chung added that he will do his best to form an alliance with liberals and reformists to bring a June victory to the DP.

“For victory in the local election, the grand spirit of unity was largely agreed upon inside the party, and we approved readmitting the two lawmakers,” said Woo Sang-ho, the spokesman of the largest opposition party. “Our network with the other opposition parties and our own internal unity will grow further.”

With the two lawmakers’ return, the Democrats now occupy 88 seats in the incumbent 297-member National Assembly.

Chung was the Democrats’ candidate in the 2007 presidential election, losing to Lee Myung-bak of the Grand National Party. He left the DP last April, only days before legislative by-elections, after the party decided to not nominate him as a candidate. Chung ran as an independent and was elected to represent the Deokjin district of Jeonju, North Jeolla.

Shin, who was formerly the chief of the National Intelligence Service, left the DP at around same time, and for the same reason. He too ran as an independent candidate, winning a National Assembly seat as the representative of Wansan, also in North Jeolla.

Last month, Shin and Chung asked the party to reinstate them, with Chung apologizing for creating friction.

Of the two men, it is Chung whose reinstatement is generating the most interest. A TV-journalist-turned-legislator, Chung had been a unification minister during the Roh Moo-hyun administration and the chairman of the Uri Party, the predecessor of the DP.

Although “party unity” is being used to explain Chung’s return, a power struggle between him and the current DP leadership seems inevitable.

At the press conference yesterday, Chung said, “What I am interested in is not holding power inside the party, but expanding the party’s power in the nation.” However, a bout between him and incumbent DP Chairman Chung Sye-kyun appears destined, since the party is scheduled to hold a convention to elect a new chairman in July.

Both men are expected to run for the post and have strong supporting factions. While Chung Dong-young has been largely supported by the lawmakers of Jeolla, Chung Sye-kyun is backed by pro-Roh liberal lawmakers, particularly those representing the capital region. Although rivals, the two Chungs have maintained a friendship for 15 years, ever since they established a private reformist group in 1996, along with other young liberal politicians.


By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]
Related Korean Article

돌아온 정동영…민주 주도권경쟁 점화


정동영 의원이 10일 민주당으로 돌아왔다.

지난해 4월 재보선 공천파동으로 당을 등진지 10개월만에 '친정'으로 원대복귀한 것이다.

정 의원은 "먼 길을 떠났다 다시 고향에 돌아온 심정"이라며 "넓게 이해해주고 품어주길 바란다"는 말로 복당 기자회견을 시작했다.

또 '희생', '당에 빚진 사람'이라는 표현을 써가며 "빚을 갚기 위해 어떤 역할도 마다하지 않겠다"며 한껏 몸을 낮췄다.

공천 과정에서 갈등을 빚었던 정세균 대표에 대해서도 "정 대표가 어려운 조건 속에 당을 이끌어온데 대해 경의를 표한다"며 "지도부를 중심으로 지방선거 승리를 위해 하나가 되는데 적극 협력할 생각"이라고 화해의 제스처를 보냈다.

자신의 조기복당을 반대했던 '친노.386' 그룹을 향해선 "지금은 차이를 드러내기보다 어떻게 하면 하나가 될지 역지사지하면서 노력해야 할 때"라고 했다.

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