Parties should stay the courseThe Grand National Party celebrated the 13th anniversary of its founding yesterday. It is significant, given that it is rare for the name of a political party to survive for 13 years.
Developed countries such as the United States and Germany have two to three mainstream political parties that advocate conservative and liberal values. Parties there have long histories. Thanks to these parties, the countries witness political change through a thesis-antithesis-synthesis model. Because people in those countries have more trust in their mainstream political parties, voters believe they won’t suffer when a party they do not favor takes power.
In the case of the U.S., the Republican and Democratic parties have lasted 156 years and 180 years, respectively. The parties have suffered electoral defeats and disgraceful moments, but never did they change the name of the party. To many Americans, their political parties are assets of American history.
In the case of Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party boasts of over 55 years of history and it, too, underwent ups and downs through the years. But neither the LDP nor its name have changed or disappeared.
Then take a look at Korea. Korean political parties are short-lived because of internal disruptions. Their names, too, do not seem to last long.
The conservative political party of Korea’s first president, Syngman Rhee (1875-1965), crumbled less than nine years after its establishment because of strong opposition to dictatorship.
President Park Chung Hee’s political party disappeared 17 years later, when Park was assassinated in 1979 by his intelligence chief.
In Korean political history, party leaders too easily changed the names of their parties and broke them up, similar to how a family remodels an apartment. The names of former President Kim Young-sam’s New Korea Party, late President Kim Dae-jung’s National Congress for New Politics and late President Roh Moo-hyun’s Uri Party no longer exist.
Considering this, the GNP faces an important task. As the most mainstream political party in Korea, the GNP must survive in Korean political history while advocating its conservative and moderate conservative values.
GNP leaders must abandon ambitions of establishing a new political party for short-term gains.
We hope readers will see an editorial some day about the 100th anniversary of the GNP.