Propositional Representatives- Just More Power For Leaders?The Grand National Party is again mired in a heated dispute, this time over the selection of its candidates for proportional representation. It appears that party leaders still have not learned their lessons from the the so called 'February 18 upheaval,' which was caused by disputes over the nomination of regional representatives for the general election. Although this selection process didn't show many signs of previous scandals over bribery, it still does not make up for the disappointing selection procedures and its results. With most of the decisions made solely by the party leader, many party members are unhappy. One chairman of the election committee, who is also the head of the election campaign, has even refused to come to the office.
The party's selection process itself confirms the lack of consideration of the policitians toward the public, who should have the right to choose. Knowledge, ability, and experience, several reasons for proportional representation, have been totally ignored.
On the whole, it is apparent that the nomination process was used to strenghthen the influence of the party leader and to rescue some unsuccessful members in past nomination races. With hardly any sign of new faces, it is no wonder people view the recent GNP's conduct as nothing but the recalling of old friends. It is only too obvious that the party falls short in professional skill, origianlity, and innovative spirit, thus leaving no defense for being termed 'the private party'.
The GNP seems to believe it has secured at least 18 of the 46 propotional representative seats due to the somewhat lessening concern over money scandles. However, unless the party renovates its old policies and its internal conflicts and confusion, these problems will never end, resulting in the loss of the people's confidence later on.
The ruling party, on the other hand, may console themselves for not being in the same shoes as the oppositinal party, but the truth is, they are not that far away from it either. When Park Sang-hee, the Chairman of the Korea Federation of Small Business, joined the ruling party, it could be viewed as an attempt to monopolize business related commitees and is likely to bring even more backlash.
Proportional representation is meant to allow the opinions of the voters to be better reflected in party make-up of the government. It is not intended to just be extra seats and more power for the party leader and his cronies. The democratization of the parties will remain an issue as long as party leaders regard the selection process as a source for cash and power.
by Wayne Chumley