Invisible hands taint processFour years ago, when the Grand National Party’s screening committee chose candidates, there were no fights between factions. The party was having a hard time after unsuccessfully trying to impeach the president. The leadership of the nomination committee was respected. The party members sensed the crisis and made sacrifices.
Things are different now. That is because other powerful forces are in control of the GNP’s nomination screening committee. Ahn Kang-min, the head of the committee, stormed out of a meeting due to pressure from both outside and inside the committee. The nomination of party spokesperson Na Kyung-won is a good example. She applied for the party nomination in the Songpa District in Seoul and two committee members fought with Ahn over it. The members left the meeting place and didn’t show up the next day, halting the process which had gone on every day for the past month. Na was nominated in the Jung-gu District in the end, which gives the impression that some invisible hands came into play.
Na’s nomination seems to have been influenced by the power struggle between Lee Jae-oh, a former member of the party’s Supreme Council and Chairman Kang Jae-sup. Na is regarded as one of Kang’s people. Lee wants to regain control of the party while Kang wants to continue to rule it. The two have fought hard for each of their candidates. Some of the members of the nomination screening committee have worked for senior members of the party. The committee members were careful not to reveal their interests earlier on, but now they are openly competing to benefit their factions.
Na’s nomination is the tip of the iceberg. Regarding the nominations of candidates from the Gyeongsang provinces, Park Geun-hye said she accepted the results of her narrow presidential primary loss last year to Lee Myung-bak to pave the way for a fair selection process, but now that achievement has been ruined. Park might be another invisible hand. It is certain other powerful invisible hands are influencing the nominations. A rumor has spread that President Lee invited Ahn to the Blue House to discuss the nominations. Lee Sang-deuk, President Lee’s brother and deputy speaker of the National Assembly, and Chung Doo-un are also believed to be influencing the committee. Ahn and other committee members must remember the hard times experienced four years ago. The GDP should fear the United Democratic Party, which is moving the people through reforms in its nomination process and sacrifices being made by its party’s leaders.
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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