[EDITORIALS]Political Wrangling Goes Nowhere

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[EDITORIALS]Political Wrangling Goes Nowhere

Some members of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party have protested the appointment of the party chairman nominated by the president. The ruling party and the government have been struck by a monstrous internal furor. The ruling camp is still unable to organize itself and take care of the congressional inspection of government office that start Monday nor, needless to say, begin to deal with pending domestic and overseas issues.

The struggles that have turned into a crisis within the ruling camp actually were not unexpected. When the question was raised whether Prime Minister Lee Han-dong, who lost his political morality, should stay in office, people anticipated the consequences. After the first personnel appointment was made in a wrong way like the first button was fitted to a wrong hole, the cabinet reshuffle was announced on Sept. 7 together with the appointment of Han Kwang-ok to party chairmanship which led to a collective protest from some party leaders and junior lawmakers who sensed a problem with public opinion.

We do not now want to call into question whether President Kim Dae-jung appointed Mr. Han in order to save the ruling party currently in the parliamentary minority, open a venue of communication with the United Liberal Democrats and consolidate the president's direct rule over the MDP or to forge party unity, because Mr. Kim closely evaluated Mr. Han's personality abilities. However, we can neither dismiss the loud criticism from some ruling party lawmakers and members of the Supreme Council nor the declarations, though now retracted, made by junior lawmakers that they would leave the party.

The statement made by Representative Kim Keun-tae, a member of the MDP Supreme Council, demanding the dismantling of a certain genealogy, including the voluntary resignation of Mr. Han, is particularly shocking. He said, "A certain genealogy is reigning over and shaking up the party." When the Blue House dismissed the party's opinion, Mr. Kim, who agrees with Chyung Dai-chul and Chang Eul-byung, both members of the Supreme Council, even went to the party office Sunday and held a press conference, during which he described in detail undemocratic practices within the party and warned that he would oppose the president collectively with other politicians that agreed with him.

There is no question that the particular genealogy that Mr. Kim spoke of refers to the Donggyo-dong faction within the ruling camp. In 1997, before the presidential elections took place, core members of the faction had publicly resolved not to take office in the cabinet or the Blue House even if President Kim Dae-jung were to win the elections, being conscious of public concern over politics dominated by a political boss that manifested during the Kim Young-sam administration. It must have been a desperate countermeasure against the evil practices of politics being dominated by the president's close associates. What has happened that now, three years into the administration, members of the Supreme Council of the ruling party must censure such practices in public? In the past also, there were instances of ruling party representatives expressing discontent over the appointments made by the president. But as soon as the president's inner thoughts were officially made public, the grumbling began to soften. That conflict is actually exacerbating within the ruling party testifies that something is definitely wrong.

The people can no longer watch with patience the political wrangling within the party in view of pressing national issues to tackle.
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