[EDITORIALS]A party in peril

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[EDITORIALS]A party in peril

The opposition Grand National Party's infighting is intensifying. If senior party officials, including Hong Sa-duk and Kim Deog-ryong, decide to join Park Geun-hye in leaving the party, the leadership of the party president Lee Hoi-chang will enter a deeper crisis. The fleeing members may be acting on political agendas of their own, but discontent within the party reflects the criticism that this is a party that "cannot even hold primaries."

Whether the Grand National Party decides to hold primaries or not is entirely up to the GNP. The consequences are also its own and do not have to be the subject of discussion for any third party. But the operation of a political party as a public organization and an important part of how the country is run is a subject worthy of the public's interest. It goes without saying that a democratically-run party is more desirable than not, and will command greater public support. Thus, the Grand National Party has become a disappointment. At least the Millennium Democratic Party is trying to renew itself after the losses it suffered in by-elections last year and is attempting to shed the cycle of political corruption by introducing party primaries with popular participation.

Mr. Lee has maintained a strong position on the recent confusion within his ranks. He has blamed the disruption on elements that are out to discredit the party's integrity and divide the party. There are signs that such elements are indeed at work to some degree. But it would be a mistake for the opposition party to find a way out just on that argument. Mr. Lee has caused more trouble than necessary in the luxury villa fiasco because he simply did not understand the public's sentiment on the issue. If he again fails to see the cause of the leadership crisis is himself, he will be making the matter much worse.

Mr. Lee is advised to heed the criticism that there is a problem with his lack of tolerance as a leader. He must look into the real reasons behind Ms. Park's departure, the calls for a collective leadership and the demand for resignation of the current leadership. It is in the best interest of the nation that Mr. Lee abandon his arrogance and move on to the national agenda.
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