GNP think tank: Fresh faces should replace old guard

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GNP think tank: Fresh faces should replace old guard

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The ruling Grand National Party should shake up its senior rank and recruit fresh figures to boost its chances in next year’s general election, the party’s think tank said yesterday, after suffering a bruising defeat in last month’s Seoul mayoral race.

The Yeouido Institute suggested that the center-right party run new faces in the April parliamentary elections and persuade veteran lawmakers who have been elected several times in the conservative strongholds to give way to fresh figures to reorganize the struggling party.

The suggestion came as young voters, discouraged by high unemployment and a widening income gap, turned their backs to the party in the Seoul mayoral by-election. Exit polls showed almost 70 percent of voters in their 20s to 40s supported the opposition-backed independent Park Won-soon against the GNP’s high-profile nominee, Na Kyung-won.

GNP Representative Chung Doo-un, who heads the institute, said the party’s election strategy should focus on who could provide the vision for a better future and operate the National Assembly, not on punishing the current administration over its failed policies and wrongdoings.

“The party should recruit candidates who are considered competitive by anyone’s standards,” Chung said.

The GNP is plunging deeper into turmoil over how to overhaul its power structure and relations with President Lee Myung-bak in a way that meets the demands of voters.

A group of reform-minded GNP lawmakers also issued a statement over the weekend urging Lee to offer a public apology over the ongoing crisis faced by the ruling party and make a sharp policy turnabout to pay greater attention to employment and welfare.

Representative Hong Joon-pyo, chairman of the GNP, also unveiled a proposal to overhaul the party’s election nomination process, but his reform drive has received lukewarm responses from other senior members in the party’s top decision-making body.


Yonhap

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