NPAD hits rock bottom

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NPAD hits rock bottom

The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy is drifting further and further into chaos. The wheelhouse has lost control over the ship and there are factional power struggles among the crew whose eyes are fixed on the helm rather than the ultimate goal of recapturing power. We no longer can recognize a party with a 60-year history and a democratic foundation that generated two presidents, Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun. Some are already forecasting a sweeping change in the political landscape as a result of the fissures in the main opposition party.

The latest internal feud arose after acting party chief Park Young-sun appointed two men to co-head the emergency committee to run the party until the next party convention, which will elect a new party leader and supreme council members. One of her choices drew strong protests from different factions with some people openly demanding Park be stripped of her floor-leader title. Park nominated Ahn Kyong-whan, a liberal-minded professor emeritus of Seoul National University, and Lee Sang-don, a moderate-conservative professor emeritus of Chung-Ang University. The latter served on a reform committee of the NPAD’s nemesis, the Saenuri Party, ahead of the elections of 2012.

Heavyweights Moon Jae-in, Park Jie-won and Chung Dong-young all opposed Lee’s appointment, claiming that they cannot accept “a different blood type” that could be “a humiliation to the party and its members’ liberal identity.” The party’s elected representatives issued a joint statement denouncing the nomination and Rep. Jung Chung-rae said he will stake everything to stop Professor Lee from joining the party.

Park undermined her position in the first place by naming other captains while she was supposed to be in charge of the bridge. If she was overburdened by her job, she should have resigned without naming her successors. Instead, she showed her ambition to maintain control over the party. Other party executives from the Roh wing have acted dubiously. They placed Park as the emergency head but interfered in and opposed her every move. They twice rejected compromises she negotiated with the Saenuri Party on the special law to investigate the Sewol tragedy. They made a party with 130 seats in the legislature a kind of permanent protest group, sending its approval rate to rock bottom. They assumed Park would be a figurehead and were upset when she had more ambition. The main opposition party must get its house in order fast if it doesn’t want to lose the feeble public support it has.

JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 13, Page 26

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