Politics loses groundThe National Election Commission has approved a political party’s decision to call itself “Pro-Park United,” after former Grand National Party Chairwoman Park Geun-hye. The new party was hurriedly formed by those who claim that they didn’t earn Grand National Party nominations because they are close to Park. They joined a small, existing party and then changed its name.
Is it right to use her name for a political party? Pro-Park United sounds like a faction centered around an individual. The name also implies that its members admire a certain political leader. There have been times in Korean politics when people worshiped certain politicians more seriously than now. But they didn’t use names like the Syngman Rhee Party, the Solidarity of Park Chung Hee, the Pro-Kim Young-sam Party or the Pro-Kim Dae-jung Party. Political parties are supposed to pursue the public good. They are not owned by certain individuals. A political party owned by an individual is a private party. The progress of democracy should see private parties advancing to become public. The name “Pro-Park United” goes against common sense. It is the same as declaring that the party is a private one.
We suspect that its members want to use Park’s name for their own purposes. They want to use a popular politician and exploit sectarian minds to gain votes. What contribution can such a party make to the development of democracy? The new party calls itself Pro-Park United, but Park Geun-hye belongs to the Grand National Party. This confuses people when they are deciding how to express their political opinions. Park Geun-hye believes that political development is her raison d’etre, so she should be ashamed of the party’s name.
However, the National Election Commission allowed the party to use the name. Some on the committee opposed the idea but they were defeated by those who interpret the law literally. The committee maintained that there is no clause allowing it to prohibit the party from using the name. They cited article 43, which only prohibits political parties from using names that are similar to existing party names. However, articles 1 and 2 of the same law state that political parties must help people form political opinions and contribute to the healthy development of democracy. The National Election Commission could have used these articles, but it was obsessed with details and failed to see the bigger picture. The National Election Commission will have to bear responsibility for the regression of party politics.