[EDITORIALS]MDP learned nothingThe Millennium Democratic Party seems to have escaped the conflict among its members over whom to blame for the landslide defeat in the local elections. Wednesday's extended meeting of senior party officials reconfirmed the party's presidential candidate, Mr. Roh Moo-hyun. The MDP's Supreme Council members, including the party's chairman, Hahn Hwa-kap, regained the confidence of the rank-and-file. Although some foes of Mr. Roh insisted on holding him accountable for the election defeats, the mainstream pro-Roh faction prevailed. The strong offensive by Mr. Roh's supporters is based on their distrust of their foes who "would depart the party ultimately." So there is a strong possibility of further conflict.
The people expected the party to reflect on the corruption within the government and criticize its role in it. But the party appears to be engaged only in power struggles. We cannot say that the party really succeeded in pulling itself together.
Mr. Roh was right when he said, "Regaining the confidence of the people is the most important thing to win the Aug. 8 by-elections for the National Assembly." The question is how correctly the party can read the people's wishes reflected in the June 13 election results and how well it can accommodate them.
Mr. Roh suffered from the party's landslide defeat in the local elections and the decline of his popularity. He brought the trouble on himself. He could not distance himself from the corruption of the government and the old politics led by the so-called three Kims: Kim Young-sam, Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-pil. He hesitated on where to politically position himself. Although he emphasized national unity, he provoked controversies by saying ideologically extreme things and vulgar words.
If Mr. Roh would like to use the by-elections to reverse the decline in his popularity, he should look coolly at what he did wrong in the local elections and change. This is how he can turn his foes within the party around and make them support him.
Since there is no immediate alternative to Mr. Roh, we can understand the outcome of the debate on his candidacy. But why did not a single Supreme Council member voluntarily resign, taking responsibility for defeat in the local elections? That is a pity for the party.