[EDITORIALS]MDP in disarrayThe Millennium Democratic Party is scratching its collective head. When Roh Moo-hyun, the party's presidential nominee, supported a proposal to form a neutral cabinet, the non-mainstreamers criticized the proposal harshly. There is also a big gap in understanding on the issue of revising the constitution between Mr. Roh and Lee In-je, a leading MDP lawmaker. At a lawmakers' meeting last weekend, the party suddenly decided to cancel its earlier decision to allow a free vote to elect the speaker of the National Assembly. It decided to choose Kim Young-bae as its single candidate for the speaker's position, elbowing aside Choogh Soon-hyung, who was said to be less competitive. As a result, the election of the speaker will be decided by show of power between the two parties and the agreement for a free vote has become a scrap of paper.
Electing the speaker by allowing a free vote, instead of following the party's decision, was welcomed by public. The decision was a desperation measure by the rival parties. The MDP, trying to distance itself from President Kim, found it difficult to claim the "ruling party" title and the speaker's seat. The Grand National Party did not want to win on a straight party-line vote.
Now that the MDP has gone back to the old way -- obey the party -- it has spoiled its image. People hoped that image of a "National Assembly in a vegetative state" would be cleared by electing a speaker through free voting.
People wonder why MDP lawmakers in a reformist group didn't act properly. They talked about political reform as if reform was their trademark, and they supported a free vote. But they were silent at the meeting when Mr. Choogh was jettisoned. The behavior of the MDP reformists, who act differently than they speak, makes the MDP's confusion look even worse.
On the issues of distancing itself from President Kim, constitutional revisions and a free vote for the speaker, there is confusion in the party platform and policy. The MDP should make stronger efforts to clean up its act.