[EDITORIALS]Welcome, Park Geun-hye

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[EDITORIALS]Welcome, Park Geun-hye

The interim leadership of the Grand National Party was elected yesterday. The party has lost the last two presidential elections, and now it faces its most serious challenge.
Park Geun-hye, who will manage the party until its convention in June, is under heavy pressure. Her urgent challenge is to shore up plummeting public support for the party before the legislative elections next month.
A healthy competition between progressives and conservatives is essential for political development. A collapse of the Grand National Party, a conservative group, is undesirable not only for conservatives but also for liberals. Therefore, we hope the new Grand National leadership will renew the party.
Most of all, the Grand National Party should reflect the people’s desires. Until now, the party has stayed cozy in a conservative greenhouse. Enjoying overwhelming support from the Gyeongsang provinces, the party became arrogant and too lazy to carry out necessary reforms.
Although there was a controversy over the fairness of the prosecution’s investigations, the party did amass ten times the illegal campaign funds that its ruling party rivals did. When those black deals were revealed, the party concentrated on challenging President Roh Moo-hyun’s morality instead of repenting of its wrongdoing.
The party ignored the people’s hopes for political reform and a greatly improved political climate; it focused its energy on internal fights over the party’s leadership and candidate nominations. To be born again, the party must end such practices.
The Grand Nationals do not have the luxury of time. They only have 22 days before the legislative elections. Ms. Park must prepare for the elections and declare the party’s firm resolve to reform and repent. The Grand Nationals should do their best to erase the party’s corruption-ridden image. It should pay attention to selecting appropriate candidates for proportional representation seats. The Grand National Party will lose its last chance if it is reluctant to give up its old practices of cronyism and protecting its vested rights.
But the party should not change its conservative identity. The people want a healthy, ethical conservative political party, not an opportunistic “me-too” group of liberals.
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