[EDITORIALS]Changing the rules to fitThe ruling Millennium Democratic Party has revised its charter in order to facilitate the nomination of its candidate for Gyeonggi governor. The measure seems to be taken to sacrifice Lim Chang-yuel, incumbent Gyeonggi governor, in favor of Jin Nyum, former deputy prime minister for finance and economy and the party's choice of candidate for the gubernatorial post. Revising the existing system and adoptiing a provision retroactively for the purpose of limiting the political right of a particular person is in violation of the principles of democracy.
At a glance, the revised provision reads: "The application for candidacy by a person who cannot assume the duty, even after being elected in the local government elections, will be made null and void as an application."
A candidate who cannot assume the duty after being elected is of no use as the party's candidate. It is understandable that the MDP is reluctant to take Mr. Lim, whose legal case over charges of graft was overturned and sent back to a lower court by the Supreme Court, as its candidate. The party may want to recommend Mr. Jin, who is considered to have a better chance as its candidate. However, it is not right to drive out a candidate who, thus far, is eligible by law.
Moreover, changing the party charter to comply with Mr. Jin's demand that he would not run in an in-house election in which Mr. Lim competes is not a desirable turn for a party to take. It shows that the party is willing to revise rules and principles if it is necessary for a candidate to be elected.
The Millennium Democratic Party publicized widely that it had introduced a popular primary in order to promote democratic party operations and participatory politics. If the party discards the principle when its interests do not fit, then other democracy slogans it uses are also suspect. Because the party forces unreasonable demands on its own members, which is hardly the way to honor friendships, we worry what offenses the MDP will commit when it confronts the rival party. Some in the party have criticized the Blue House and the party leadership for supporting candidates. Instead of playing tricks, politicians should try to persuade voters and thus change the political culture through popular primaries.