Putting a promise into actionIn a speech at the National Assembly on Monday, Grand National Party Chairman Ahn Sang-soo promised a bottom-up - not vice versa as in the past - nomination process for the ruling party’s candidates for elections. He declared a “radical makeover in our political culture to change unjust political practices” for a “path to advance politics to revive public credibility.”
His words, however, hardly make heads turn. The ruling party is still struggling to patch up the damage from the disastrous procedure of nominating candidates for the upcoming April 27 by-elections for four offices - three representatives, representing Bundang B District, Gimhae B and Suncheon, and the governorship of Gangwon.
The GNP outlined reforms in the party’s nomination process for elections two months ago. A special committee has been active since last July last and came up with a set of proposals to revise the nomination procedure. Then the special committee submitted the reform proposals to the party’s Supreme Council, insisting that the new proposals be tested in the April by-elections.
Ahn and other party executives, however, shrugged off the proposal and ganged up to field a political heavyweight - former Prime Minister Chung Un-chan - as the candidate to represent Bundang B District. Their action amounts to a typical top-down nomination process that runs counter to the public and broader views of the GNP.
When their choice eventually flopped, they campaigned for their second choice - Presidential Chief of Staff Yim Tae-hee - only to draw sneers even from their own party. The Bundang seat had been left vacant because Yim moved to the Blue House in February. We can hardly call their display of leadership creative and reform-minded.
Ahn wrapped up the hypocritical farce by promising to overhaul the party’s nomination process. We are not saying the idea is wrong and unnecessary. Words unaccompanied by actions, however, do not carry any weight.
He cannot fool voters by trying to cover up the recent nomination fiasco with florid words. If the party leadership wants to achieve the goal of reform, it should put the proposals in the party’s platform and carry them out for the next general election in 2012.
Ahn must put his promise into action if he really hopes to restore his party leadership and dignity.