Despite reports, Park says she’s undecided on NaDenying media reports from yesterday, a senior aide to Representative Park Geun-hye, the former chairwoman of the Grand National Party, said that she had made no decision on supporting the Seoul mayoral campaign of Representative Na Kyung-won, the GNP’s nominee.
Major media outlets including the JoongAng Ilbo and the Korea JoongAng Daily reported yesterday that the presidential front-runner would support Na’s bid for City Hall and make public her decision early next month, citing other senior aides.
Representative Lee Jung-hyun, who acts as Park’s spokesman, told Yonhap News Agency yesterday that he had confirmed with Park that she had not made up her mind.
“I have said nothing about supporting the campaign,” Lee quoted Park as saying.
The back-and-forth appears to be a result of the GNP’s efforts to pull its biggest star into its mayoral campaign and Park’s efforts to keep her distance from an increasingly unpopular party as she gears up for a Blue House run.
Park, known as the “queen of elections” for her make-or-break endorsements, has so far rebuffed multiple entreaties from her own party to use her strong influence on conservative voters to bring the GNP to victory in the crucial race for Seoul mayor.
In a Monday radio interview, Na made a direct appeal to Park, saying, “A female Seoul mayor will be helpful in opening up the path for a female president,” adding that she would visit Park and listen to her advice.
Park’s reluctance seems to be a concerted effort to compel the ruling party to adopt her position on welfare, which has emerged as the dominant issue ahead of next year’s general and presidential elections. The GNP’s attempts at pushing back on the Democratic Party’s calls for a large expansion in welfare programs have been largely unsuccessful, with many in the GNP, including Park, now embracing much of the liberals’ demands.
Asked Tuesday if she would support Na’s campaign, Park refused to state her position, only saying, “Let’s not talk about it today.”
Amidst the continuing whispers about Park’s intentions, a senior Park loyalist yesterday said at a party meeting that its leadership should finalize the GNP’s platform on welfare policies as soon as possible.
“The welfare task force said it would make an announcement on Oct. 7, but that’s a bit too late taking into account various situations,” said Representative Yoo Seung-min at the Supreme Council meeting.
A clear party platform on welfare aligned with Park’s views has been seen as a precondition for her support in the Seoul mayoral by-election, set for Oct. 26. Park urged her party on Aug. 31 to define its stance on welfare, hinting that she would help the GNP hold onto the Seoul mayoralty depending on the position it adopts.
“The priority is the party’s efforts to redefine its direction and policies for Korea’s welfare system to create an official platform,” Park had said in response to questions about whether she would support the GNP’s mayoral campaign.
By Ser Myo-ja [email@example.com]
한글 관련 기사 [뉴시스]
박근혜 "선거지원 말한 적 없다"
한나라당 박근혜 전 대표가 29일 "나경원 한나라당 서울시장 후보의 선거지원에 대해 한 마디도 한 적이 없다"고 밝혔다.
박 전 대표의 대변인격인 이정현 의원은 이날 뉴시스와의 통화에서 "박 전 대표가 선거 지원을 한다는 보도들은 사실이 아니다"라며 이같이 말했다.
이 의원은 "지금 보도된 내용들은 명확한 출처가 없다"며 "기자들의 문의가 많아 직접 박 전 대표에게 확인해봤더니 이같이 말하더라"고 전했다.
앞서 일부 언론은 익명의 다수 친박(친박근혜)계 의원들의 발언을 인용해 박 전 대표가 다음달 초 나 후보의 선거지원에 나설 것이라고 보도했다.