Ahn’s lightning rise forces GNP, DP revamp

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Ahn’s lightning rise forces GNP, DP revamp

Ruling and opposition parties appeared baffled by Ahn Cheol-soo’s seemingly immaculate political conception, revamping their strategies for the Seoul mayoral by-election after a poll showed the software mogul leading by a wide margin and drawing support away from the two major parties.

Ahn, a darling of the nation’s young voters, dealt an additional blow to the ruling Grand National Party yesterday, saying that history could only advance with the punishment of the governing party.

“The Ahn fever is a warning against established politicians,” GNP Chairman Hong Joon-pyo said yesterday. “The ruling and opposition parties must join hands to work to improve the people’s livelihoods to prevent such a strange phenomenon.”

Won Hee-ryong, another GNP leader, said they had tried to bring Ahn into the party but failed.

“Unless we break away from the established ways and bid farewell to the feeling of inertia, Ahn’s rise will not only be a crisis for the GNP in the Seoul mayoral race but a great quake in the political arena,” Won said.

The GNP has begun a frantic search for a candidate capable of competing against the doctor-turned-software-developer, who received 39.5 percent support in Sunday’s poll. GNP Representative Na Kyung-won came in a distant second with 13 percent.

Some GNP members are now urging the party to recruit an outsider to appeal to centrist voters. Yet the party’s chances of finding an alternative appeared to be slim, with few showing appetite to jump into a race now swept up by Ahn fever.

While Hong said that popularity did not necessarily translate into votes, GNP leaders said the party would have to come up with a stronger strategy as soon as possible.

“The current situation may continue into next year’s legislative and presidential elections,” Representative Nam Kyung-phil said. “We need to think about a new way to communicate and a new action plan.”

The left has also been shocked by Ahn’s lightning rise, with the Democratic Party’s Han Myeong-sook, a former prime minister who was defeated by Oh Se-hoon in last year’s mayoral race, backed by just 10.9 percent in the poll. Park Won-soon, a lawyer and liberal activist, barely registered in Sunday’s survey, with just 3 percent.

Opposition parties have now begun trying to woo Ahn, or at least persuade him to form an alliance, after he said yesterday that he would be willing to discuss fielding a unified liberal candidate against the GNP.

“Everyone who opposes the GNP must board the same ship,” DP Chairman Sohn Hak-kyu said.

Sohn and other prominent liberal politicians agreed at a meeting yesterday to work together in the mayoral race to prevent the GNP from recapturing City Hall. The heads of the four liberal opposition parties as well as Moon Jae-in and Lee Hae-chan, both of whom are Roh Moo-hyun loyalists, participated in the meeting.

“We will open our door widely and do our best to make a good contender the unified liberal candidate,” Sohn said. “We intend to win the election and create a liberal coalition government in the city of Seoul.”

Moon, a rising liberal star, said that Ahn would achieve his goal of defeating the GNP by joining the opposition parties. “Ahn is a great person, and it is desirable for him to have the ambition to run in the Seoul mayoral race,” Moon said. “But if Ahn walks an independent path, we worry that the GNP candidate will [benefit from the divided liberal vote] and win.”

He then urged Ahn to join and coordinate with the liberal parties against the GNP. “Park, Han and Ahn are all great people,” Moon said. “They can have a campaign based on good will, and I believe we can walk together by coordinating the direction.”

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

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

야권 통합 ‘원탁회의’ 열려

손학규 “한나라 반대 세력 모두 한 배 타야”
문재인 “안철수 독자노선 땐 여당 어부지리”

‘안철수 쇼크’에 빠져 있던 범야권은 5일 국회에서 야4당 대표와 ‘희망 2013·승리 2012 원탁회의’(이하 원탁회의)라는 긴 이름의 회의체를 가동했다. 원탁회의는 지난 1년 가까이 산발적으로 논의가 이어져 오면서 지지부진한 국면에 빠져 있는 야권 통합을 촉구하기 위해 결성됐다. 그러나 이날은 야권 통합보다 10·26 서울시장 보궐선거에 초점이 맞춰졌다.

 회의엔 민주당 손학규 대표, 민주노동당 이정희 대표, 국민참여당 유시민 대표 및 문재인 노무현재단 이사장, 이해찬 전 국무총리 등 야권 핵심인사들이 모두 참석했다. 이들은 회의 후 공동 기자회견에서 “2012년 총선과 대선에서 승리하기 위해 10·26 서울시장 보궐선거를 포함, 앞으로의 선거에서 야 4당과 시민사회가 공동으로 대응한다”고 밝혔다.

 야권 주요 인사의 관심도 역시 ‘안철수’였다.

 문재인 이사장은 회견 후 기자들과 만나 “야 4당과 시민사회가 함께 한나라당에 맞설 단일 후보를 선출하는 절차를 마련하는데 안 원장도 거기에 함께 해주셨으면 하는 바람”이라고 밝혔다. 그는 “만약 안 교수가 별도로 독자적인 길을 걷는다면 한나라당 후보에게 어부지리(漁夫之利)를 안겨주지 않을까 하는 걱정이 있다”고 말했다. 문 이사장은 또 “박원순 희망제작소 상임이사, 한명숙 전 국무총리, 안 원장이 선의의 경쟁을 해 나갈 수 있겠고, 그런 큰 방향에 대해 (잘) 조정하면 같이 나갈 수 있지 않을까 본다”고 전망했다. 앞서 손학규 대표도 당 최고위원회의에서 “한나라당에 반대하는 이들은 모두 한 배를 타야 한다”고 강조했다.

 현재 야권에선 서울시장 후보들이 정당을 가리지 않고 모두 경선에 참여해 ‘원 샷’으로 후보를 선출하는 방안과 야 4당 및 시민단체가 ‘투트랙’으로 각각의 대표 주자를 만들어 낸 뒤 나중에 이들끼리 단일화하는 방안 등이 논의되고 있다. 안 원장도 이 과정에 참여해 달라는 게 손 대표나 문 이사장의 요구인 셈이다.

 이런 상황에서 야권후보와의 단일화 가능성을 열어둔 안 원장의 발언이 전해지자 야권엔 다소 희색이 돌았다. 박선숙 전략기획본부장은 “안 원장의 발언은 환영할 만한 일”이라며 “안 원장이 박원순 변호사와의 통합 과정을 거쳐 결국엔 야권 단일후보 선출과정에까지 참여할 것으로 본다”고 기대했다.

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