NPAD supporters delay party talks with protest

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NPAD supporters delay party talks with protest

In another apparent display of a deep schism within the main opposition, supporters of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) took over its supreme council’s office Monday morning to protest the way the party has been run.

About 20 NPAD supporters seized the party’s supreme council office at the National Assembly just minutes before its interim chairman, Rep. Moon Hee-sang, was to hold talks with its senior lawmakers.

The demonstration caused the scheduled party meeting to be delayed by 30 minutes.

The disgruntled protesters demanded the main opposition pay more respect to its members, rather than attempt to embrace the general public by allowing it to vote in its upcoming general convention.

The 20-some supporters also called on the NPAD to move away from its left-leaning ideology and more toward the center, a demand that was seen as a jab at lawmakers in its pro-Roh Moo-hyun faction, led by Rep. Moon Jae-in, a former presidential contender in the 2012 election.

The NPAD supporters also demanded that the NPAD exclude non-party members from casting ballots to elect a new party leader in the general convention. The appeal was in repudiation of Rep. Moon’s call for the party to widely embrace the general public, including those not affiliated with the party, by allowing them to vote in its general convention.

To many party members, the disturbance on Monday morning was yet another illustration of how the NPAD remains divided along factional lines.

The NPAD is scheduled hold its convention in February, when it will elect leader to steer the party into the 2016 general elections.

Of its six emergency council members, Moon Jae-in, Chung Sye-kyun and Park Jie-won are certain to step down from their positions Wednesday to bid for the party’s top post.

The job carries significant weight, as the new party leader will steer the main opposition through the 2016 general election and wield overarching influence on party nominations. This possibility has caused more tension to build within the split party.

Interim Chairman Moon said he would refer those accountable for the disturbance to the NPAD’s ethics committee.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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