GNP rift deeper than everIn their meeting on Wednesday, President Lee Myung-bak and Grand National Party Chairman Park Hee-tae talked positively about making Kim Moo-sung, a leader of the party’s pro-Park Geun-hye faction, GNP floor leader in order to pursue unity between the two factions.
But Park Geun-hye opposed the suggestion, saying the idea went against party conventions and regulations, and because other party members had revealed their intention to run for the post. The Kim Moo-sung card was put aside and the party fell in chaos, revealing once again a poverty of leadership in the ruling party when handling political affairs.
The problem of unity in the ruling party is the conflict between Lee and Park. We have pointed out that any measure for reform and unity that neglects this tension will only be a quick fix producing negative side effects.
Restoration of mutual trust between the two politicians is the foremost step to take. After that, they should listen to opinions of the pro-Park faction and pursue unity for the party.
But the mainstream presented the Kim Moo-sung card too abruptly, presenting Kim as a benefactor to the pro-Park camp. Floor leadership is an important post, one that formulates the ruling party’s position in the National Assembly. It is thus an irresponsible move to leave the task to a senior member of the non-mainstream camp when there is no unity or communication between the two sides.
Besides, a floor leader should be elected by due process. But when three other senior members announced they were going to run for the post, the president and the party chairman leaked their intention to give the job to someone else.
That’s hardly democratic.
The ruling party’s poor capacity to organize itself was underscored in the April 29 by-elections. In Gyeongju, the party did not nominate the candidate with the best chance of winning because he belonged to the pro-Park camp. Instead, it selected someone who lost the last election and was deeply involved in a corruption scandal with party nominations. The candidate who failed to earn the GNP’s nomination went ahead and ran as an independent, splitting votes.
Last autumn, the ruling and the opposition party leaders reached an agreement to work together as partners when governing the state. But the leaders of the GNP did not fully cooperate, giving the opposition party good reason to break the agreement.
The ruling party’s stability and unity are vital to the success of the administration. But the Blue House and the ruling party have not displayed the competence to resolve conflict.