MDP’s Nomination Process Not DemocraticIt’s 9:30 a.m.in room 145 of the National Aseembly building. The rulling Millennium Democratic Party’s (MDP) lawmakers are entering the room, looking excited and a bit nervous, the party’s gathering to nominate a candidate for the National Assembly’s speaker post kicks off.
The voting for the nomination seemed to start as soon as everyone was seated and the host, floor leader Jong Gyun-hwan, streesed the importance of a democratic vote.
At that moment, Lee Yun-su raised an objection, saying, “This is ridiculous. The way of naming candidates for th epost of National Assembly Speaker should be different. We are the ruling party.”
Kim Yong-bae, a 6-term lawmaker said, “Voting may not be the best way to designate a candidate for National Assembly speakership. If the votes are dispersed, it won’t show much loyalty to the designate. For the sake of party loyaty, why don’t we show our unanimous consent? Please agree with the idea of designating Lee Man-sup, an eight-term lawmaker, as a candidate for the post of National Assembly speaker.” Kim’s suggestion was regarded as rather sudden and unexpected by other lawmakers because Kim himself was a potential candidate, having previously expressed his intention and hope for the speakership.
First-term lawmakers, who had strongly pushed for a secret ballot to designate the candidate earlier in the day, were decidedly against the sudden change of sentiment.
In particular, Jong Bum-gu and Jang Sung-min insisted that the party’s previous decision to vote democratically be enforced. “It’s a crucial democratic step. The opposition party celebrated the new millennium with its designation of National Assembly speaker post. We must live up to our promise.”
In the end, members had to vote by a show of hands on whether to use a secret ballot or a voice vote. More people voted for a voice vote with the result being that Lee Man-sup was named as the party’s sole contender.
A high-ranking official explained, “This is a preliminary round of voting for the candidate for speakership of the National Assembly. The Grand National Party (GNP) must also submit a candidate. We have to completely united to compete with the candidate of the GNP.”. Other lawmakers, however, replied, “We are not accustomed yet to the candidate-decision voting culture in the political arena. The episode speaks for itself.”
by Lee Jong-min