[EDITORIALS]Dispel doubt on defectionsThree lawmakers of the conservative United Liberal Democrats, Oh Jang-seop, Lee Yang-hee and Lee Jae-sun, have left the party. They are reportedly seeking to join the Grand National Party. Efforts to join the GNP are cropping up everywhere following the jump to the opposition by the independent lawmaker, Han Seung-soo.
Mr. Han's switch was followed by a similar move by representatives Jeon Yong-hak of the Millennium Democratic Party, Lee One-ku of the ULD and the MDP lawmakers, Won You-chul, Lee Keun-jin and Kim Yun-seek. The GNP is growing. But it is worrisome that no one seems to be concerned about the party's undisciplined expansion, accepting politicians who are being vilified as "turncoats and traitors."
The defection of the ULD lawmakers might be related with the GNP's wishes to woo voters in the Chungcheong provinces, the traditional stronghold of the ULD. The defectors have tasted the sweetness of power under the patronage of the ULD president, Kim Jong-pil. Mr. Oh served as the ULD floor leader and party president and minister of construction and transportation after he left the GNP four years ago following the rise to power of the coalition of Kim Dae-jung and the ULD leader. Mr. Oh is trying to return to the GNP since Kim Jong-pil's political clout is shrinking. Mr. Oh's habitual defections for personal interests cannot be justified.
GNP officials say they have no way to prevent defectors from joining them. The very same defectors have accused the party of impeding the administration. The GNP should explain why they have accepted the defectors.
Accepting the defectors without giving a reason as to why is reckless expansion out of quest for power. Law and principle and political reforms advocated by the party's candidate, Lee Hoi-chang, must be considered in admitting lawmakers from other parties. The political situation stemming from the presidential election must not foster opportunists switching parties to meet their own interests.