[EDITORIALS]GNP in midst of a train wreckThe Grand National Party has fallen into chaos.
Late last year, Lee Hoi-chang, the presidential candidate of the party in 2002, and Choe Byung-yul, the party’s chairman, both admitted that the party raised about 50 billion won ($43 million) of illegal money during the election campaign. But the figure may be much higher. Recently, prosecutors said the party had raised more than 70 billion won. No one knows how high the number will grow or if there is more corruption.
The party also paid 200 million won each to lawmakers who defected to its ranks from the Millennium Democratic Party and the United Liberal Democrats just before the presidential election. The dikes are crumbling.
We are now troubled as to whether we can call the Grand National Party a political party or not. Some are questioning the fairness of the investigations, but the Grand National Party’s practices cannot be excused ― unless prosecutors just made up the charges.
The party’s internal affairs are also lamentable. Indicating the leadership vacuum, the party’s nomination committee said it would not nominate the party chairman as a candidate in the approaching legislative elections. That is an incident unheard of in our political history, but reform-minded lawmakers are now demanding that Mr. Choe step down immediately. The party is simply not functioning.
The rise and fall of a political party is not our concern. It is an internal affair of the party. But we still have to demand that the Grand Nationals redress their party and perform their duties. Party politics is stipulated in our constitution, and under that system the Grand National Party is the majority party of the National Assembly, representing the will of the people. The chaos in the Grand National Party is harmful to a healthy relationship between the ruling and the opposition parties. That will automatically bring about chaos in the nation’s affairs.
The Grand Nationals must have serious discussions on how to overcome the current crisis, such as holding an emergency party convention. The party must make a serious decision as soon as possible. Serious introspection, ending corruption and giving up its established rights must be included in the party’s decision.