An ethical divideFormer President Kim Dae-jung paid a visit to his “birthplace area” - Mokpo, Mooan, Sinan in South Jeolla, yesterday. He had a pleasant chat with the villagers. Even though he said it was a personal trip, it is still being regarded as inappropriate. That is mainly due to the travelers who came with him and the areas he visited. His second son, Kim Hong-eop, and his political aide, Park Jie-won, went with him. Both of them are on the campaign trail for the April general election.
Kim’s constituency covers Haeui Island, the birthplace of his father, Kim Dae-jung. Kim Hong-eop was involved in a bribery case and given a prison sentence when his father was president. He might have been the greatest burden his father and his government had to bear at that time. We maintained he was ineligible to be a lawmaker during the party nomination period for lawmaker candidates last year. However, the Democratic Party adopted him as a candidate for the district.
Park took a bribe from a conglomerate and was sentenced to prison due to allegations that he abused his authority by transferring money to North Korea. He was legally rehabilitated at the end of last year.
The party nomination in the general election is a matter of life or death for the United Democratic Party. Party members and supporters maintain that they need to join forces to take innovative steps in the process.
Apparently aware of such an atmosphere, Park Jae-seung, a member of the party nomination review committee, said, “the party nomination process should follow the public sentiment, going beyond the old practices of the past.” He is seeking to introduce a new system, titled a “board of civil reviewers,” for the first time in the party’s history.
With this going on, Kim Dae-jung paid a visit to controversial areas, accompanying controversial figures. We know he wanted to exercise his authority to suppress efforts to change the nomination process. Does he think his son and secretary are more important than the party?
Some people may say that now that they have been rehabilitated, there are no big problems. Former President Kim Young-sam’s son, Hyun-chul, went to jail and was rehabilitated, too. However, the Grand National Party did not accept his application for a party nomination to run for the National Assembly. Simply put, we can see there is a huge difference between the two parties in this regard. Such a difference might lead to the huge gap between approval ratings 50 percent for the Grand National Party and 10 percent for the United Democratic Party.