The task at hand for ParkThe Grand National Party has finally patched up its differences to seek a new path. A party committee passed reform measures to create an emergency council under its former chairwoman, Representative Park Geun-hye.
Park, who attended the party lawmakers’ caucus for the first time in nearly three years, said the biggest imperative was to restore public credibility and unity. “We don’t have much time. We must use the limited time to approach the people, turn to their needs, and work amongst them if we want to save ourselves.”
She hit the nail on the head: the party is sinking because it has lost the people’s trust. The GNP has been too engrossed in factional feuds to care for the livelihood of the people. Because they were busy seeking self-serving interests, they failed to see that the people had deserted them. The GNP, as Park said, is now paying the price. To start fresh, it must ruminate on where it went wrong and how to fix the problems. Park must share the party’s self-evaluation and future plans before launching the emergency council. People won’t return unless they feel the sincerity of Park’s promise to “change to the bones.”
Park hinted at sweeping changes, but she must create the right environment to make the reforms take root. She must form an emergency council that party members can trust and unite behind. Park should first prove that she will break factionalism. The look of the council should be welcomed by her opponent’s faction. She won’t get the unity the GNP needs if there are voices of complaint.
Park must also pay attention to the opinions of others. At the caucus, many said Park could not do the reform alone. She should seek counsel and help from representatives like Kim Moon-soo and Chung Mong-joon as well as others outside the GNP. If she succeeds in engaging her rivals, the reform will be a lot easier.
Recreating the GNP has been tossed to the council without a consensus in the party. Conflict can resurface. Park must understand the sense of insecurity held by lawmakers from the capital and South Gyeongsang areas. She must show leadership in selecting candidates and trotting out new policies.