[EDITORIALS]Political Merger Talk DisturbingTalks by the ruling coalition of the Millennium Democratic Party, the United Liberal Democrats and the Democratic People's Party on the merger of and the selection of a presidential candidate from the three parties bear a shabby side that looks like power-sharing. At the heart of the talks on the presidential candidacy of Kim Jong-pil lie the separation of presidential candidacy and party leadership, and a kingmaker role. Those topics are complicated and delicate and form a two-track line of political gain and loss. The talks present discomforting shadows of political maneuvering that keep a distance from regular party members and Koreans. The talks have even developed into an emotional battle between the Millennium Democratic Party and the United Liberal Democrats.
Arguments between the Millennium Democratic Party and the United Liberal Democrats further enhance such views. "If the three parties are merged, Kim Jong-pil cannot take the role beyond that of the party presidency," contends floor leader Lee Sang-soo of the Millennium Democratic Party. On the other hand, officials of the United Liberal Democrats have countered, "Only Kim Jong-pil is eligible for a joint presidential candidacy."
The selection of one candidate from the three ruling coalition parties and their possible merger have elements of being desperate countermeasures to confront Lee Hoi-chang, who will probably run for the presidency from the Grand National Party. The ruling coalition is looking into merging the three parties and selecting one presidential candidate as political strategies in order to squelch talks that Lee Hoi-chang will win the presidency.
Even if so, the merger discussed by the ruling coalition is not appropriate because it gives the impression of political transactions among the party leaders that do not take into account the opinions of regular party members. To devote effort to such debates is not timely.
The ruling coalition should remember that it is difficult to create leadership by simply politically merging the parties from the top without due consideration of the general party members' will and public opinion.