A crowded poolNine people are running for the presidential nomination of the United New Democratic Party. It’s not right to have so many contenders in the field. At this rate, the party will have to drastically cut the number of presidential hopefuls for the party primary. Sadly, yesterday’s debate among these presidential hopefuls showed no standouts.
This new party was formed after the repentance of former members of the ruling party. The Uri Party has done so much wrong that it has had to disband three years and nine months after its establishment. Its members created the new party as a plea for a second chance. At their final party convention on Aug. 18, Uri Party Chairman Chung Sye-kyun bowed his head, saying he and his fellow Uri members felt deep remorse for what they had done. But although former Uri politicians say they know they have done wrong, nine people in this largely Uri-based party say they are fit to become the next president.
Some of these candidates have offered apologies. On Aug. 18, former Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan said he felt bitter and deeply sorry. Rhyu Si-min said, “The Uri Party had idealistic dreams but it lacked competence, power and wisdom.” Shin Ki-nam, a former party chairman, also apologized.
So many candidates are vying for the party nomination because many want a chance to gain prominence. Some seem to be boosting their popularity in preparation for the general elections scheduled for Dec. 19. With so many presidential hopefuls, the party will have to make drastic cuts and decide on a candidate by mid-October at the latest. The party holds the largest number of seats in the National Assembly and stems from the current ruling party. The party must produce its candidate two months before the presidential election.
Yesterday’s debate foreshadowed the dismally low level of the party primary to come. With so many presidential aspirants, the debate became an introduction of the candidates rather than a detailed policy discussion, which is what the public needs to discern among the pool.
The candidates condemned Lee Myung-bak, the current front-runner, and Sohn Hak-kyu, the ruling circle’s most popular candidate. Although it was a debate among new party members, the main topic of discussion was the Grand National Party.
The liberals said little of their own policies or vision. They all share responsibility for the Uri Party collapse, they pointed fingers at others. What a shameful portrait of the new party.