[EDITORIALS]MDP, what's in a name?

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[EDITORIALS]MDP, what's in a name?

The Millennium Democratic Party is publicly mulling over whether to change its name and whether to force one of its lawmakers, Kim Hong-il, to resign from his seat in the National Assembly. The party is desperately trying to turn around the public mood, which has become sour because of the serious suspicions over the people close to President Kim Dae-jung. Things are growing worse, reaching the point where indictments of two of President Kim's sons are being called for. The people tend to identify the party with the president. The party's presidential candidate, Roh Moo-hyun, has seen his lead in opinion polls slip steadily. That is why the party is considering a change of name. We sympathize with them.

But those approaches seem ineffective. We doubt what a new name would bring to the party. Such a move might bring public abhorrence by giving the impression of the pursuit of superficial remedies to overcome the crisis. Mr. Roh must have thought in a similar way when he said, "We will not try to get more votes by changing the party's name." The MDP should be more responsible when it tries to gain public confidence again by promising to keep itself out of scandals and presenting new vision. It should support strict and fair investigations into the suspicious activities of the president's three sons instead of relying on trickery, chicanery and obfuscation.

Turning our attention to Kim Hong-il, the party must apply the same principles. Although he has habitually appeared as a main character in several political scandals and is now taking flack as one of the president's three errant sons, no evidence has been confirmed to substantiate his guilt. Until he is proven guilty, he should hold his seat in the National Assembly. Asking him to quit because he is the president's first son is ridiculous. Wasn't he once lauded for the same reason?

There are things a political party can do, and things it should never do. The MDP should not try to win more votes by changing its name. Doing such will not brighten the party's future. The MDP should show statesmanship when criticized and when it addresses the brickbats.
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