Stop the rumorsRumors are swirling that Lee Hoi-chang, the former chairman of the Grand National Party, will run for the presidency. Yesterday, his supporters held a rally to persuade him to run. There have often been rumors about him running, but this time there are circumstances that make it appear more than political gossip.
After Lee Myung-bak won the party primary, he requested a meeting with the former party chairman. But Lee Hoi-chang refused the request, saying he had serious indigestion.
Recently, Lee refused a position as an advisor to the party’s election committee.
A close aide to the veteran politician said that it is clear that we need to replace the left-wing government, and Lee Hoi-chang is considering whether it should be done by the Grand National Party’s candidate or by other means.
The most important reason for rumors about him running for election is that he has not clarified where he stands.
When reporters asked if he intended to run for election this year, Lee gave a vague answer, saying that he hasn’t changed his position that everybody must work together to replace the government. This was not a yes or a no. With some 50 days left before the election, the ruling party’s circle is still trying to produce a prsidential candidate. People wonder if Lee Hoi-chang is considering whether to join this chaotic campaign.
If the former party chairman runs for the presidency again it would be unethical. Of course, anybody can run in the presidential election, as long as they are Korean citizens. There is no law prohibiting a person from running for the presidency three times.
Former French Presidents Francois Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac won the presidential election on their third attempts. Former President Kim Dae-jung won the election on his fourth try.
But Lee Hoi-chang was the former chairman of the Grand National Party and he was the party’s candidate in 1997 and 2002. He still is a member of the party. If he reasoned that Lee Myung-bak was not good enough to replace President Roh, he should have joined the party primary to earn his party’s nomination.
It is cowardly to wait for the party’s candidate to falter in the course of the campaign, or to run for election as an independent candidate. The former party chairman must calm this situation. That is his duty as a veteran politician and his responsibility those who cast votes for him in the two previous presidential elections.