A call for fair nominationsThe ruling and opposition parties took the lead in attacking the Park Geun-hye administration during the Sewol ferry disaster. They lambasted it for its lethargic response to the tragedy, the irresponsibility of bureaucrats, the immorality of Yoo Byung-eun, the de facto owner of the ferry, and the captain and crew of the ship in the face of the calamity. However, we wonder if they really deserve to criticize all of them.
Our political parties are infamous for backward party nominations. Whenever the Blue House has trouble appointing high-profile officials, they batter the presidential office. When it comes to personnel affairs, however, they are even worse than the administration: They don’t have any principles, order or responsibility. Both camps’ lack of firm nomination systems invites power intervention. The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy picked a close aide to Ahn Cheol-soo, co-chair of the party, as the party’s candidate for a district in Gwangju - the opposition’s home turf - without a nomination race in the June 4 local elections.
Ahead of the July 30 by-elections, the largest ever, both parties’ leaders are bent on top-down nominations, as many are determined by the leaders’ decisions. The ruling Saenuri Party excluded Yim Tae-hee, former President Lee Myung-bak’s chief of staff, from the nomination race for Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi, citing his lack of regional ties, despite a strong need to develop the city. But the party leadership nominated him for a district in Suwon, Gyeonggi. Does that mean Pyeongtaek needs a regional representative but Suwon does not?
Given his lack of regional connections, lawmaker Suh Chung-won, the former chairman of the Grand National Party, the predecessor of the Saenuri Party, might also not have been nominated for a legislative seat representing Hwaseong, Gyeonggi. He won in the Oct. 30, 2013 by-election. The ruling party has again rolled up its sleeves to nominate former Gyeonggi Governor Kim Moon-soo for the Dongjak-B district in southern Seoul in the July 30 by-elections without holding a nomination race.
The NPAD is no exception. The party nominated Ki Dong-min, former Seoul deputy mayor for political affairs and a confidant to Seoul mayor Park Won-soon, for Dongjak-B district, Seoul, without a nomination race. Needless to say, nominations are essential for political reform. Without a firm system established, incumbent lawmakers or aspiring politicians have to first read their leaders’ minds. This is deplorable at a time when the nation needs a revamp.
JoongAng Ilbo, July 7, Page 34
Correction and rebuttal statement by the Evangelical Baptist Church
The Korea JoongAng Daily, regarding the reports since April 16, 2014, about the Evangelical Baptist Church (EBC) and Yoo Byung-eun, is publishing the following corrections and an excerpt from the rebuttal statement by the EBC.
Through three past investigations by the prosecution, it has been revealed that Yoo and the EBC, also known as the “Salvation Group” and Guwonpa in Korean, are not related to the Odaeyang mass suicide incident. That was also confirmed by the prosecution in its official statement on May 21. The prosecution’s investigation also found that Yoo had not made an attempt to smuggle himself out of the country or seek political asylum in France. We, therefore, correct the concerned reports.
Yoo retired from his executive management position in 1997. He did not own any shares in the noted companies, nor had he managed operations or used the operating funds for personal reasons. There are no grounds to call him the actual owner and chairman of the company. As such, he did not provide any directives in regards to the overloading of the Sewol ferry or its renovation.
It was verified that the captain and crew members who abandoned ship at the time of the Sewol ferry accident are not members of the EBC. It has also been verified that the EBC does not own any shares of Chonghaejin Marine Company and did not engage in its management.
The EBC’s position is that the museums in the United States and Europe can never authorize an exhibition unless the artistic value of an artist’s works is recognized by the screening committee, irrespective of the amount of money an artist donates. The EBC’s position is that the exhibitions were not a result of Mr. Yoo’s patronage or donation, and Yoo also has not coerced Chonghaejin and its affiliates to purchase his photos.
The EBC states that Yoo did not participate in the foundation of the EBC in 1981, and the church does not offer him the title “pastor.” It also says a significant part of the 240 billion won ($206 million) worth of assets suspected of belonging to the Yoo family are real estate properties owned by the farming associations, which had been established by church members.
The EBC states that there are certain churches in Korea that call the EBC a cult, solely based on differences between their’s and the EBC’s doctrines.
But the EBC does not worship a particular individual as a religious sect leader or preach any doctrine that contradicts the Bible.