GNP’s same sorry tuneThe Grand National Party is repeating its same old habits. An official from the party received a bribe from a person seeking the party’s nomination for the April 25 by-elections. A hopeful provincial council member in Ansan, Gyeonggi province, reportedly delivered a bag of 130 million won ($140,000) to the head of the local Grand National Party chapter. After the hopeful couldn’t be nominated, a deputy head of the local chapter tried to give him his money back. When he refused, the deputy tried to threaten the man with blackmail, just like gangsters do. The heads of local chapters usually get their party nominations to run for the National Assembly.
The Grand National Party has said numerous times in public that it was determined to banish the corruption reputation it received after accepting truckloads of illegal political funds during the 2002 presidential election. The party even moved its headquarters into tents to demonstrate self-reflection. But what has changed? They are still repeating the same corrupt behavior. It is shameful now for them to say that they will redeem the presidential power and renew the nation. How long must the GNP’s supporters wait before they are not disappointed anymore?
In 32 of the 56 constituencies where by-elections will be held this month, candidates from the Grand National Party won the last local election. Many of them, however, violated election laws. In four constituencies, including Bongwha county in North Gyeongsang province, the election was declared invalid because of bribery during party nominations. The Grand National Party should feel a heavy responsibility for wasting precious taxpayer money, hundreds of millions of won per constituency.
It is impudent enough that the party members tried again to take bribes. Problems have also occurred during the nomination processes in other areas. After the Grand Nationals nominated a person, the unsuccessful applicants reacted angrily, sometimes demonstrating publicly or defecting from the party. It is not right that the by-elections have become an another arena of competition in the presidential race.
The party leadership announced that it would convene an ethics committee and punish those involved. They should not resort to stopgap measures merely to appease public sentiment. They should volunteer to investigate the case thoroughly. They can satisfy their disappointed supporters only when they take the opportunity to search their souls.