Good news on nominationsStimulated by the April 27 by-elections’ message that the ruling party will perish unless it seeks to reform itself, our political community is accelerating a political reform drive to shift the nomination process from its former behind-closed-doors, top-to-bottom ways to an open, bottom-up process.
The ruling Grand National Party has virtually adopted American-style open primaries, which was proposed by Na Kyung-won, a member of the GNP’s Supreme Council, with the support of 130 GNP lawmakers. The main opposition Democratic Party, meanwhile, is pushing ahead with a trilateral nomination procedure - combining the votes of party members and the general public with the opinions of professional evaluators.
Faulty nomination procedures are one of the major causes of the irregularities and inefficiencies in our politics. When the dominant forces in the party wield the power to nominate, junior lawmakers have little choice but to swap their independence for the vested interests of the senior members who decide their political fates.
As a matter of fact, the friction between President Lee Myung-bak and former GNP Chairwoman Park Geun-hye dates back to the massacre of pro-Park lawmakers by the pro-Lee faction in the April 2008 general election nominations.
Though the flame of reform has been ignited, there still remain not a few areas that need to be remedied.
First of all, if too many candidates fight for a nomination, new faces with fresher ideas can hardly be chosen due to the strong influence of the dominant forces in the party. Political parties, therefore, need to introduce new ways to limit the number of candidates to three or four.
The DP is reportedly considering a massive reform of its nomination process that would be based on debates by political aspirants, similar to the process of elimination used on the popular reality TV show “Superstar K.” The party also plans to incorporate the results of voting by party members and an electoral college.
One possible solution could go like this: If both parties held primaries on the same day - and if the National Election Commission oversaw the process - it could prevent many of the flaws of past nominations. Then the primaries could be sublimated into a kind of regional festival, with the huge cost covered by the government.
We hope our lawmakers can exercise their voting rights according to their consciences.