DUP cites infighting in election loss

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DUP cites infighting in election loss

The Democratic United Party yesterday announced its review of the December presidential election, holding the weak leadership of its candidate Moon Jae-in and the internal discord stemming from the party’s factional politics accountable for its bitter defeat.

The presidential election review committee of the largest opposition party issued the report yesterday, wrapping up its more than two-month-long analysis into the defeat.

In the Dec. 19 presidential election, DUP’s Moon lost to the Saenuri Party’s Park Geun-hye. Moon came in at 48 percent and Park earned 51.6 percent.

In the report, the committee, headed by Seoul National University honorary professor Han Sang-jin, said the DUP lacked preparation and planning.

The party leadership had a weak sense of responsibility and leadership, while the party members were split due to factionalist politics, the committee said.

The report also said the DUP failed to read changes in voter sentiment while the election campaign committee was sloppily run. The report also held Moon accountable for the defeat for his lack of political capability and determination.

The report criticized Moon for having remained silent while demands grew during the campaign period that the Lee Hae-chan leadership must step down.

The presidential candidate was also criticized for remaining tightlipped about the process of consolidating candidacies with liberal independent contender Ahn Cheol-soo.

Ahn eventually dropped out of the race and gave a lukewarm endorsement to Moon.

The report said Moon was in debt to Ahn and his supporters, analyzing that 62.5 percent of Ahn supporters voted for Moon, comprising 45 percent of the votes that Moon garnered in total.

The report also asserted that Moon’s associates had an unnecessarily large influence over the campaign.

“The candidate’s secretariat was criticized as a reunion of former presidential secretaries [of the Roh Moo-hyun Blue House],” the report said. Moon was Roh’s former chief of staff.

“It is unprecedented for the DUP to face such a serious crisis due to factionalism,” the report said. “It is clear that factionalism has gone too far. Resolving the factionalist politics has emerged as the top priority for the DUP’s future.”

The report also quantified the DUP leaders’ performances during the legislative and presidential elections of last year. According to the evaluation, Lee, the former chairman of the DUP, was held the most accountable for the party’s defeat in the presidential election, scoring 72.3 out of 100 points.

Park Jie-won, former floor leader, was ranked the second-most-responsible person for the defeat, scoring 67.2 points.

Lee and Park, the leaders of the two largest factions inside the DUP, had reached a deal on splitting leadership positions. Lee, from the Roh faction, became the chairman, while Park, a Kim Dae-jung loyalist, became the floor leader.

They also agreed to support Moon as a presidential candidate.

Moon was ranked as the third-most-responsible person for the DUP’s presidential defeat, scoring 66.9 points.

In the report, the committee asked Moon and other Roh faction leaders such as Lee to take responsibility to set an example inside the party, indirectly pressuring them to retire from frontline politics.

Roh loyalists yesterday fiercely criticized the committee’s decision to announce the report weeks before the May 5th party leadership election.

Four politicians, Kang Gi-jung, Kim Han-gill, Shin Geh-ryoon and Lee Yong-sup, are running for chairman of the DUP, and Shin, a Roh loyalist, said yesterday in an interview with KBS radio that “I wonder if there is any political motive to announce the report ahead of the party convention.”

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

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