[EDITORIALS]Leave the party, Mr. RohPresident Roh Moo-hyun is still keeping his membership card in the Millennium Democratic Party even after the new party has already sailed off. That is against political morality. Since the Millennium Democratic Party proclaimed itself an opposition party, Mr. Roh, as a courtesy to the party he once belonged to, must leave it as soon as possible.
President Roh spoke several times in support of the new party. Defining supporters as a pro-reform group and those remaining in the Millennium Democratic Party as anti-reform forces, the president also said, “I greet the new party amicably.” Then he does not have any reason to stay in an “anti-reform” party. It is beyond our understanding that the President will not leave the party until after the National Assembly’s inspection of the administration and budget deliberations and the official launch of the new party. Along with some lawmakers elected by proportional representation rules, who are hesitating over giving up their MDP affiliation and their seats in the Assembly, Mr. Roh’s inaction leaves a bad aftertaste.
There is also speculation that President Roh would not affiliate with any party after breaking with the MDP. If he is to free himself from any affiliation, he must be true to his own words. No one will believe him if he still keeps boosting the new party while pretending to be above politics.
He may play at being nonpartisan, but he must be truly neutral to be believed. Being a nonpartisan will also bewilder those who voted for him because of his party affiliation.
And if he waits until after next year’s legislative elections to affiliate with a party, he will be seen as a crass opportunist, leaving the decision until after he sees if the new party gets the majority of seats in the elections.
The legislative elections give Korea a chance to evaluate not only individual candidates, but also political parties. If there is no ruling party, people will be deprived of the chance to judge the job the administration is doing. Some new party members are against having the president in their party; they see no benefits in the election. Mr. Roh and the new party should lead in playing fair politics.