GNP tussles over election

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GNP tussles over election

In an ongoing attempt to revamp the ruling party to prepare for legislative and presidential elections next year, the Grand National Party’s emergency council decided yesterday that the rules to elect its new leadership will be straightened out by the end of this month.

“It is imperative to amend the GNP constitution and other codes on the party caucus [to elect the new leadership],” said GNP spokesman Ahn Hyung-hwan after the 19-member council met. “We decided to approve the revisions at the emergency council meeting on May 30.”

The revisions include a possible plan to hold separate elections for the party chairman and the other members of the Supreme Council.

A possible revision of the party’s constitution to allow a presidential hopeful to lead the party will also be discussed.

“Before the final voting, we will conduct surveys of the lawmakers and other senior party officials outside the legislature by Sunday,” Ahn said. “The general assembly of GNP lawmakers will take place next Monday to listen to their opinions.”

Ahn said the GNP will try to reach a general consensus on the issues but the emergency council may have to vote and announce the final decision if differences persist.

At the opening of the emergency council meeting, Representative Chung Ui-hwa, head of the council, said a compromise between the current voting system, which is done by delegates, and a full vote of all GNP members is necessary.

“The current system has been criticized for failing to accurately represent the members’ intentions,” Chung said. “But it is physically impossible to arrange an election with all 230,000 Grand Nationals from around the nation. We have to find a compromise.”

Under the current system, the GNP holds a national convention of delegates to elect a new leader. Up to 30 delegates for each party chapter gather to vote. Reformists have said the number of delegates should be larger.

Since its chairman and other leaders stepped down to take responsibility for the April 27 by-election rout, the GNP has been led by emergency council head Chung and newly elected floor leader Hwang Woo-yea, who is also acting chairman. The GNP has scheduled a convention to select the new Supreme Council and chairman on July 4.

In an interview with SBS radio yesterday, Chung also expressed his opposition to the idea of all party members voting. “That’s not a simple task,” he said. “But, we also cannot continue the current system.”

Another thorny issue is a possible revision of the party’s constitution to allow a presidential hopeful to lead the party. Currently, the GNP constitution doesn’t allow the presidential nomination to any person who held an important post 18 months before the election. The presidential election takes place in December 2012.

“If the presidential hopefuls can reach an agreement, there won’t be that big of a problem but if they cannot reach an agreement we will just have to separate the two powers,” Chung said in the SBS interview. “I will meet with prominent candidates if necessary.”

Hwang, however, made clear that he opposes the change to the constitution. “There is an issue of fairness in a primary between a presidential hopeful who heads a party and a presidential hopeful who doesn’t,” Hwang said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency yesterday. “I think the principle is already clear and it will be hard to find a compromise because the issue is very sensitive.”

The issue was also discussed by Hwang and Chung during a dinner on Sunday. The two are known for their long-time friendship but they’re now awkwardly sharing power in the GNP.


By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [연합]

한나라, ‘전대 선거인단’ 어떻게 되나

한나라당의 7.4 전당대회(이하 전대) 선거인단 규모가 '전대 룰'을 다룰 비상대책위원회의 쟁점이 될 전망이다.

당헌당규에 따라 새 지도부 선출을 위한 전대에는 대의원을 비롯해 1만명가량의 선거인단이 참여하지만, 당 일각에서 '전(全)당원 투표제'를 요구하는 목소리가 적지 않기 때문이다.

현행 방식대로라면 1개 당협 당 20∼30명의 대의원이 참여, 당협위원장의 '입김'이 작용할 수 있는 만큼 '줄 세우기, 줄 서기' 근절을 위해서는 선거인단의 대폭 확대가 필요하다는 것이다.

앞서 한나라당은 지난 2003년 6월 전대에서 당협별로 최소 700명, 최대 1천400명의 당원이 참여한 선거인단(23만명)을 꾸려 전국 283개 투표소에서 투표하는 방식으로 새 지도부를 선출한 적이 있다.

이 같은 상황에서 '계파 벽을 뛰어넘을 수준의 선거인단 규모'를 절충안으로 내놓는 목소리가 나와 주목된다.

황우여 원내대표는 16일 연합뉴스와의 인터뷰에서 "너무 많은 사람이 투표하면 관리가 어려우니 계파의 벽을 넘었다고 볼 수 있을 정도로 하면 될 것"이라고 밝혔다.

정의화 비대위원장도 "그동안 전대는 동원선거, 대의원 표심의 왜곡이 나타났고, 과거 실시했던 23만명 투표는 물리적으로 불가능한 상태"라며 "중간점을 찾아야 한다"고 밝혔다.

따라서 '절충안'을 놓고 논쟁이 불거질 전망이다.

대안으로 17만명에 달하는 책임당원 투표제가 거론되나, 지역별 편차가 맹점으로 꼽힌다. 호남 등 책임당원이 적은 곳의 '당심'이 제대로 반영될 수 없다는 한계가 있다는 것이다.

소장그룹도 정작 수백만명에 달하는 것으로 추산되는 전체 당원 투표제를 고집하는 것은 아니다. 비용을 비롯한 물리적 한계에 더해 당원 명부 자체가 부정확하기 때문이다.

한 소장파 의원은 "전당원 투표제의 정신을 반영할 수 있는 방법은 당원 선거인단 제도"라며 "실무적으로 가능한 최대치로 선거인단을 꾸리는 게 당원에 대한 도리"라고 밝혔다.

가령 지역 인구의 0.5% 안팎에 해당하는 당협별 선거인단 규모를 정하고, 책임당권과 일반당원이 적정 비율로 참여하는 방안도 대안으로 거론된다.

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