[EDITORIALS]Political musical chairs

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[EDITORIALS]Political musical chairs

The bickering between the Grand National Party and the United Liberal Democrats surrounding the party affiliation of North Chungcheong Governor Lee Won-jong is as degrading as a petty fight for a concubine would be. Both parties and Mr. Lee deserve criticism. The conduct of the Grand National Party officers was in particular truly pathetic. They visited the governor's office where Mr. Lee was at work to talk him into switching parties. After all the attacks it had staged against the ruling Millennium Democratic Party for plucking lawmakers from other parties, it is ridiculous to see them using what amounts to the same tactics.

Before it starts casting blame, the United Liberal Democrats must also look back on their political conduct. Departures by members of the No. 3 party are nothing new; the mayor of Incheon, Choi Ki-sun, also recently bolted the party. The ULD chose to express its outrage with such reckless remarks as "political prostitution," but that kind of behavior is not going to win much sympathy. The ULD needs to understand that recent events are just the fruit of its unprincipled behavior since it formed its short-lived coalition with the Millennium Democratic Party.

Mr. Lee has said nothing, but his conduct was probably the worst. He was originally affiliated with the Grand National Party before jumping in 1998 to the United Liberal Democrats when the ULD was in the governing coalition. He justified his move by saying that he was frustrated with the opposition's limited policy influence. That was criticized as opportunism, and he is now showing interest in his old party just as it is riding high in the polls. He obviously does not understand how ridiculous his conduct appears; it is the exact opposite of his obvious intention to polish his political integrity and personal popularity.

Political decisions are entirely up to the parties and members. But for the Grand National Party to have publicized its effort to woo an outsider can only sour residents of the province and other voters. A change in party affiliation should be based on good justification and an honorable process. Only then can politicians and politics get through the controversies that a party change can cause.

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