Conservative groundswell

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Conservative groundswell


Prominent conservatives wave Korean flags yesterday at a ceremony at 63 City in Yeouido, Seoul, to launch an advocacy group to promote unification and advancement, signaling a restructuring of the political landscape. [NEWSIS]

A massive alliance of the country’s conservatives yesterday launched an advocacy group to promote unification and advancement, signaling a restructuring of the political landscape ahead of next year’s legislative and presidential elections.

The Greater Korea United, led by a well-known conservative scholar, Park Se-il, held its official launch ceremony yesterday afternoon. About 11,000 people have signed up to join the group, including prominent founding members such as former National Assembly Speaker Park Kwan-yong; former Constitutional Court Chief Justice Kim Yong-joon; Park Hyo-chong, a professor of ethics education at Seoul National University; and the Rev. Kim Jin-hong of the Doorae Church.

About 3,000 members and guests attended the launch ceremony. Gen. Paik Sun-yup, former Army chief of staff, and former Prime Minister Lee Hong-koo were among the speakers. Grand National Party floor leader Hwang Woo-yea, and Chyung Dai-chul, adviser to the Democratic Party, as well as Gyeonggi Governor Kim Moon-soo also made appearances.

“The opportunity for unification is approaching fast, but there is also risk of permanent separation,” Park said. “South Koreans must actively prepare for unification.”

The group has 71 chapters nationwide in addition to its Washington and New York offices. It also established in-house organizations of businessmen, Buddhists and North Korean defectors.

While Park made clear that Greater Korea United “has no connection with a political party,” politicians displayed a lot of interest in the role of the new, massive conservative group.

Speculation is already running high that Greater Korea United will seek to establish a political party independent from the Grand National Party. Others also speculated that the group will stand against Park Geun-hye, former GNP chairwoman and one of the strongest presidential contenders.

The speculation is based on the fact that about 30 percent of Greater Korea United members are the New Right Union, which contributed greatly to the election of President Lee Myung-bak in 2007.

Others, however, said the possibility is low. “Park Se-il began an independent political movement because he was disappointed at the GNP,” said GNP Representative Kwon Taeg-ky. “He is unlikely to join others.”

Park, a former Blue House secretary for policy planning and coordination in the Kim Young-sam administration and former GNP lawmaker, bolted the party in 2005 after briefly heading the GNP’s think tank, the Youido Institute.

By Ser Myo-ja []

한글 관련 기사 [연합]
친이 성향 보수단체 출범…오세훈ㆍ김문수 축사
오세훈 '표만 의식한 정책 선보이기 시작'
친이(친이명박) 성향의 보수단체인 '대통합국민연대'가 2일 오후 프레스센터에서 오세훈 서울시장과 김문수 경기지사가 참석한 가운데 발기인 대회를 갖고 공식 출범했다.

보수 성향 학자들을 중심으로 한 '브레인 집단'인 이 단체에는 김선규 정규석 공동준비위원장 등 3천333명이 발기인으로 참여했다.

오 시장은 축사에서 "국민소득 4만달러, 5만달러를 향해 가려면 허리띠를 졸라매고 뛰고 또 뛰어야 하는데 대한민국은 복지논쟁의 한복판에 있다"며 "야당이 제기하는 보편적 복지라는 새로운 복지개념은 성장 잠재력을 잠식할 것"이라고 주장했다.

그는 "내년 총선과 대선을 앞두고 표를 모으기 위한 지나친 공약과 정책이 선을 보이기 시작했다"며 한나라당 새 원내지도부가 내놓은 '반값 등록금' 등 서민정책에 대해서도 경계심을 드러냈다.

김 지사도 이어진 축사에서 "표만 많이 얻으면 되는지, 어떻게 하면 표를 얻으면서 대한민국을 위대한 나라로 만들 것인지 우리는 중대한 기로에 서 있다"면서 "지금은 한나라당조차 상당히 혼미하다"고 지적했다.

대통합국민연대는 1천여명의 발기인이 참석한 발대식에서 '통일된 국가, 건강한 사회, 행복한 국민'을 슬로건으로 제시하면서 "우리는 자유민주주의와 시장경제를 존중하면서 현재의 사회구조를 점진적으로 개조해야 한다"고 강조했다.

당초 이재오 특임장관도 이 단체의 발기인 대회에 참석하려다가 계획을 취소했다.

대통합국민연대는 과거 이명박 대통령 후보의 외곽 지원조직이었던 '선진국민연대'의 후신으로 자리매김하며 앞으로 유력 대권주자인 박근혜 전 대표와 맞설 '친이계 후보'를 적극 지원하지 않겠느냐는 관측이 나오고 있다.
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