Reps demand a massive overhaul of GNP structure

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Reps demand a massive overhaul of GNP structure

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Grand National Party’s reformists yesterday held a press conference to demand a complete restructuring of the party’s centralized leadership system. [NEWSIS]

Amidst the ruling Grand National Party’s struggle to salvage itself in the eyes of the voters ahead of the April general elections, a group of reformist lawmakers yesterday demanded a massive overhaul of the party’s structure, proposing the party’s centralized leadership system be abolished.

Eight lawmakers - Nam Kyung-pil, Chung Doo-un, Kwon Young-jin, Gu Sang-chan, Kim Yong-tae, Hong Il-pyo, Kim Se-yeon and Hwang Young-cheul - yesterday held a press conference at the party’s headquarters in Yeouido to discuss their proposals.

“We have to shelve the old system of the party’s central leadership led by the chairman,” Representative Nam said. “We also need to completely restructure our party chapter system and the members’ councils because they have been abused to serve lawmakers and legislative election nominees.”

The lawmakers said they are not satisfied with the party’s emergency leadership’s reform measures, led by the interim leader Park Geun-hye.

“We are not content with the emergency council’s activities,” they said in the statement. “We don’t think their reform measures are enough to say the party is being completely reborn.”

Park currently helms an 11-member emergency council which is trying to reform the party and clean up its tarnished image ahead of April legislative elections and the December presidential race in the aftermath of the GNP’s Oct. 26 defeat in the by-election for Seoul mayor.

Nam said his group will formally propose their measures to the emergency council. Nam, who stepped down from the GNP Supreme Council in December, has consistently expressed dissatisfaction with the party’s leadership.

Criticism of the ruling party accumulated over recent months with a succession of scandals, including recent allegations that National Assembly Speaker Park Hee-tae attempted to buy votes to become the GNP chairman in 2008. Park has denied the allegations. Prosecutors have also investigated a cyberattack on the National Elections Web site in October, which was carried out by a former chauffeur of former GNP lawmaker Choi Ku-sik, who colluded with a former aide to the National Assembly speaker.

The lawmakers said that “the vote-buying scandal was supported by the ruling party’s central leadership system.” They said the party’s current leadership structure is “old-fashioned and has become over-inflated and needs to be abolished to head towards a more practical leadership” that suits the 21st century.

Representative Chung said yesterday that the reform measures are “mostly the brainchild of Representative Kim Se-yeon,” and that “Kim has intentions to quit the emergency council if [the measures] are not taken.”

Park Geun-hye, the interim party leader, handpicked Kim to join the emergency council.

It remains to be seen if the GNP will abolish the current centralized party structure led by its chairman and adopt the American style party system, where the party’s power is centered on its floor leader.

The reformists’ demand came after Park warned last week that she won’t allow any more attempts to challenge the emergency council.


By Sarah Kim [sarahkim@joongang.co.kr]
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