[EDITORIALS]Uri, stop the mudslingingIt is disappointing how the Uri Party is criticizing Oh Se-hoon, the Grand National Party’s candidate in the Seoul mayoralty race. Instead of disproving Mr. Oh’s political policies or philosophy, they are going overboard with personal attacks. The election campaigns for the May 31st elections have thus far been quiet compared to local elections of the past. Both Kang Kum-sill of the Uri Party and Mr. Oh vowed in speeches accepting their parties’ candidacy that they would make this a competition of policies. Has the Uri Party forgotten their promise of a policy-based campaign in starting such a negative election campaign?
The Uri Party attacked Mr. Oh’s person and character on 13 points. Using such expressions as “incoherent language” and “lack of philosophy,” they made an issue of his having served his compulsory military duty in the Defense Security Command, often viewed as an agent for past dictatorial regimes, and questioned the sincerity of his membership in Lawyers for a Democratic Society. Moreover, the Uri Party denies that their actions consist of a negative campaign, claiming that the purpose of their attack on Mr. Oh is merely to “verify the legitimacy of Mr. Oh’s candidacy.” One party member has even said that it does not matter whether their campaign is criticized as negative as long as its contents are published. It is more wrong to commit a wrong knowing that it is wrong.
Of course, the Uri Party might have no need to attack its opposite candidate if it were at an advantage in local elections. The fact that the Uri Party tried to convince the acting governor of Jeju to join the party only to give up the next day shows how insecure it is right now. However, the difficulty of their situation does not justify their negative campaign. If one side starts launching personal attacks, then the other side will have to counterattack and soon the election will turn into a mudslinging match. We have witnessed this many times in the past.
Ms. Kang should make it clear whether she plans to continue this negative campaign or not. She cannot let this pass by without making her position clear just because it was her party spokesman who made the actual attack. We cannot believe that the Uri Party could hold such a press meeting had Ms. Kang opposed it.
The harder the times, the more the Uri Party should concentrate on essentials. For the Uri Party to start a mudslinging fight is to forget its founding spirit to implement political reforms and deny itself the chance to revive.