GNP seeks to reform structure after U.S. parties

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GNP seeks to reform structure after U.S. parties

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Lee Sang-don

In its latest reform move, the ruling Grand National Party’s emergency leadership announced yesterday a series of structural reforms based on the major parties of the United States, including the dissolution of the chairmanship and Supreme Council and an increase in power given to the floor leader.

“Under the current law governing a political party, it is impossible to scrap the central party system,” said Lee Sang-don, a law professor and the member of the GNP’s emergency leadership tasked with political reforms, at a press conference yesterday.

“We should transform the central party as the national committee and get rid of the party’s chairmanship and Supreme Council members. Instead, the party should be led by the floor leader,” Lee said.

While the party’s lawmakers will be led by the floor leader, the national committee will oversee members to reinforce the party’s role in communicating with the public and expanding the GNP’s base.

“The Republican Party of the United States had the Young Republicans drive, and it was very successful,” Lee said. “Apart from the politics inside the legislature, the Republican National Committee made efforts to strengthen its presence at universities, and it really was successful.”

The GNP’s national committee should also be in charge of campaigns for future elections.

According to Lee, the restructuring will end the undesirable link between the chairmanship election and legislative nominations.

Because the party chairman has wielded significant power, including a strong influence on the nomination process, the GNP has endured persistent corruption, exemplified once again by the latest money-for-vote scandal, Lee said.

“Reformist lawmakers and political reform experts all agreed that the vicious cycle must end,” Lee said. “And the latest scandal [over the 2008 chairmanship election] is serving as an opportunity for our transformation.”

Lee also stressed that the GNP must give up the “top-down” approach in the nomination process, embracing instead a “bottom-up” system.

The emergency council will hold seminars and public discussion sessions to finalize the restructuring plan.

While the direction of the restructuring was announced, the GNP said it needed more time to finalize a nomination committee for the legislative elections.

“We will have more discussions at the emergency council meeting [tomorrow], but it would be difficult to announce the members of the nomination committee,” he said.

The dilemma is finding the best candidate for the nomination committee head, Lee said.

“It has to be someone who is considered by both GNP members and the public as fair, objective and insightful about politics,” he said.


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

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