[EDITORIALS]Welcome, Mr. ChoeA new chapter opened for the opposition Grand National Party when it elected Choe Byung-yul as its new leader. The Grand National Party’s rather slow steps in revamping the party finally turned the corner six months after its presidential election defeat. Now that it has finally installed a new leadership, we hope it will fulfill the role and responsibilities that are expected of the majority party in the National Assembly. The Grand National Party failed to attract a majority of voters in the two past presidential elections, and the election of the new leader was an internal affair at best. Now, under Mr. Choe’s leadership, the party must seek a new path, and it should begin by trying to understand why it has failed.
Most voters think the Grand National Party is a conservative, spent, old party. They see the opposition party as only interested in what it can gain from resentment of the ruling party and the administration. They think it no longer tries to get real support for real policies. Fortunately, the new leader has emphasized “reforming the conservatives” during his campaign. Unchanging conservatism is an obsolete idea, and there is no hope for a party that wants to remain in the past. Even the voters who oppose the Roh Moo-hyun administration and the Millennium Democratic Party say they do not want to support the Grand National Party of today. The Grand National Party must keep in mind that its supporters will return only if it shows that it does not not fear reform or change.
Its “old” image needs a makeover. Some say the old-line members are afraid of a generational change, but the party needs new blood. In order to appeal to younger people, Mr. Choe needs some smart young leaders. He is known for his drive to make things happen, and he can really use his strength here.
The Grand National Party also needs to play the role of a balancing force by representing people who feel anxious about the Roh administration’s policies towards North Korea on labor. With its new leader, we hope the new Grand National Party can be a cooperative partner as well as a critical check and balance on the administration.