Park poised, gracious in loss

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Park poised, gracious in loss

The Grand National Party’s primary yesterday had two victors. Lee Myung-bak, who won by a hair’s breadth, became the political party’s spotlight presidential candidate. Park Geun-hye was the loser, but at the same time she was a winner by clearly accepting defeat and promising to give her full support to Lee in the coming presidential election. The course to the primary was abominable, but the ending was beautiful.
The three major factors of a primary are verification, zeal and harmony. The GNP has succeeded on all three counts. More than 70 percent of registered voters turned out to vote.
But the aftereffects of the verification still remain. Words are like time bombs, destined to scar. And other words damaged the supporters of the party. As much as the zeal has been a positive influence, the scars are threatening the future of the party.
Deep in her heart, Park may think it is unfair. She had won more votes from the party members and other registered voters, beyond expectations. But the poll results pulled her back, revealing Lee as the winner. She was so close to becoming the candidate. It was only a 2,400-vote difference, a mere 2 percent.
Park, however, didn’t complain and in a voice that could not be more clear, praised and congratulated Lee while asking for party solidarity. Of course, one speech from Park cannot erase all the conflict of the recent past.
As Park has mentioned, time will be needed to forget the injuries made during the rivalry. She may think Lee is not competitive enough for the presidential election. The promised “full cooperation” may turn out to be reluctant support.
Nevertheless, Park must not be shaken by temptation. Unless a fatal flaw comes up regarding Lee, Park has to keep her promise as the loser to support Lee. If her supporters, both lawmakers and the public, are tempted, it should be Park who would hold them firmly. It is consistency that will save the GNP and Park.
She is too young to be careless about her future, which may be very bright. Park’s nickname was the Queen of Elections. Now the name can be changed to the Queen of Acceptance.
Yesterday’s scene was a demonstration of how mature Korean politics has became. For that type of scene to become a precious memory, practice is important.
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