[Viewpoint] The winds of change are blowing

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[Viewpoint] The winds of change are blowing

Clotho, one of the Three Fates who spun the thread of life, is on the side of the Democratic United Party. The opposition party has become notably different as it was weaved on the loom of the goddess. Compared to the old Democratic Party, which was based mainly in the Jeolla provinces, it has become bigger in size and more substantial in structure.

While maintaining its dominance in the Jeolla region, the Democratic Party is thriving in the capital region and is increasingly strong in some areas in the Gyeongsang provinces, the traditional stronghold of the Saenuri Party.

While the Saenuri Party is making every effort for reform, its transformation pales in comparison to the soaring spirit of the Democratic Party. The opposition party charges 3 million won ($2,650) for candidate registration, three times the fee charged by the ruling party, but aspiring politicians rushed to sign up for the Democratic Party’s nomination. At least 47 percent more people are registered compared to the last general election four years ago.

The party leadership is optimistic about the general election. It is confident it will become the biggest party in the National Assembly and even secure the majority by winning more than 150 seats. The opposition is so sure about its victory that it is drafting a list of projects for the 19th National Assembly session, which includes four investigations by independent counsel regarding corruptions and scandals involving families and friends of President Lee Myung-bak.

Despite the reconstruction efforts in changing the name to the Saenuri Party, the Grand National Party is mired in the corruption of the Lee Myung-bak administration. The ruling party laments that it may not even secure 100 seats, which is the minimum number required to prevent constitutional revisions.

However, there still is time until the election. The race has only begun. No one knows what will happen in the course of the campaign, and the public sentiment is likely to fluctuate several times.

However, the Democratic Party might have opened the champagne a little too soon. DUP spokeswoman Kim Yoo-jung said in the briefing on Feb. 14, “The citizens say the Saenuri Party should not win, so the race is over.” Is it really? Remember the general election of 2004. The Grand National Party was cornered after its attempt to impeach President Roh Moo-hyun backfired.

However, it was the Uri Party, the predecessor of the Democratic Party, that saved the Grand National Party. Chung Dong-young, the leader of the ruling party at the time, said, “Voters over age 60 should not vote and stay home.” His derogatory remark toward senior citizens changed the flow of the campaign completely.

Moon Seong-keun, a member of the Supreme Council, said that the party would impeach President Lee if his involvement in the cyberattack against the National Election Commission is confirmed, even if one day is remaining in his term. Chairwoman Han Myung-sook said that the Lee Myung-bak administration would be able to complete the term when the Blue House displays a responsible attitude toward the corruption scandals. What do those not absorbed in the leftist rhetoric feel about these comments? They may sound rather arrogant.

It also sounded rather rude when Moon said, “If Professor Ahn Cheol-soo is not going to participate in the presidential primary of the Democratic Party, he can just bring a letter showing his support as he had done for the Seoul mayoral election last year.” The Democratic Party boasted that it will abandon the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement if it comes into power, but is this really a rational move? Jo Yong-hwan was nominated as a Supreme Court justice but had been rejected by the National Assembly, and the Democratic Party wants to nominate him again in the 19th National Assembly session. Is this a reasonable action or an exhibition of arrogance and stubbornness?

The wind will blow during the election campaign, and the wind blows according to the public sentiment. You can only win when you ride the wind. The opposition has gotten a free ride on the anti-Lee Myung-bak wind. But benefiting from the antagonism against the ruling party is not enough. It can always be reversed unless the opposition creates its own wind. But arrogance is the most hated quality. President Lee lost the favor of the public because of this very characteristic.

*The author is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Lee Sang-il
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