Uri election bid a new lowThe governing Uri Party is faltering. It has been on a downswing for some time but that has gotten worse since Goh Kun, the former prime minister, withdrew his bid for the presidency. The party has named renowned person after renowned person, whether they want to run for the presidency or not, as its next possible candidate. Now it is even looking at a candidate from the main opposition Grand National Party. One wonders why the Uri Party is so desperate to field a presidential hopeful.
The Democratic lawmaker Shin Jung-sik, who is close to Mr. Goh, said that the possibility that Sohn Hak-kyu, the former Gyeonggi province governor, would join a new party stemming from the ruling party could not be ruled out. His remark sparked and spread chaos among Uri lawmakers. One said the former governor’s political convictions and ideologies do not match the Grand National Party’s. Another said that he and other Uri members were making contact with Mr. Sohn to bring him into the party.
Uri members kept trying even after Mr. Sohn made it clear he had no intention of changing parties, saying “Am I a brick that you can move around? I cannot think of the Grand National Party without me.”
Chung Un-chan, the former dean of Seoul National University, has also complained about the Uri Party’s wish to make him a member.
It is understandable that a party wants to have great people, but it is wrong to announce that it will recruit the main opposition party’s strongest contender. This is particularly true when the person says he has no intention of joining the ruling party. If the Uri Party respected the person so much, it should have tried to persuade him to join much earlier. As an alternative, the party can simply support the person, or Uri members can defect to Mr. Sohn’s camp.
Although the ruling party’s presidential hopefuls rate low in the polls and the party has a hard time finding a strong candidate, there are things that they can do and things that they cannot do. With the election nearing, not even recruiting someone from a rival party will sway public opinion in the party’s favor. The person involved will just become a laughing stock. Since this is something that cannot work, people suspect it is only political maneuvering to stir up the opposition.
If the Uri Party has the minimum degree of dignity and pride, it should not try to change identities but should face the people’s verdict on what it has done while it was in power.