[EDITORIALS]The MDP smears itself

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[EDITORIALS]The MDP smears itself

"The Millennium Democratic Party's primary election was a fraud" was the cry of the Grand National Party in March and April when the MDP was enjoying the popularity of the primary it was experimenting with for the first time. Paradoxically enough, the same criticism is now made by a Millennium Democrat -- none other than Kim Young-bae, who was at the time chairman of the primary election management commission.

When the primary elections were televised nationwide, it was Mr. Kim who announced the results, boasting, "The whole people watch to see what I say" and exulting that the primary was a serial drama with 16 episodes. He bragged that the party election opened a new era of participatory politics and that it would reform the parties. Now that this person does not hesitate to disgrace his party, people shut their mouths in blank dismay.

What Mr. Kim calls evidence is even more shocking. "The people" who participated in the primary were not voluntary participants, he says; most of them were "hired by the candidates." The fact that there were only a few volunteers among nonparty members means, he says, that the primary was merely a test of money and mobilization. Then was the party election a showcase of money politics, as Kim Keun-tae charged when he dropped out of the primary at an early stage? Alternatively, did Rhee In-je accurately describe the primary as a conspiracy when he explained Roh Moo-hyun's unexpected surge of popularity as the handiwork of the "invisible hand" of the Blue House? More than anything, it seems that the people who applauded the primary as an experiment in new politics were made fools of by the fraud.

The Millennium Democratic Party's internal dispute has surpassed the limit. The accusation that the primary was a fraud amounts to smearing the image of the party that devised the primary and Mr. Roh, the winner. Although Mr. Kim leads the anti-Roh faction as chairman of the association for a unified candidate, his behavior belongs to the old practice of political betrayal. The dispute between the anti-Roh and Roh supporters is the MDP's internal problem. Unwittingly, the people are made extras in this drama of political fraud. They want to hear the truth. Mr. Kim should know that. He should clarify the truth behind his allegations of fraud.

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