Persuade colleagues to voteThe New Politics Alliance for Democracy’s newly elected chairman Moon Jae-in announced Wednesday a new lineup for major posts in the opposition. His appointments suggest the former presidential candidate struggled to resolve the conflicts arising from deep factionalism after the Feb. 8 national convention. He appointed Rep. Yang Seung-jo, who is affiliated with former chairman Sohn Hak-kyu, as secretary-general, and Rep. Kang Gi-jung, a close ally to Chung Sye-kyun, a standing adviser to the party, as chairman of the policy committee. Earlier, Moon picked Reps. Yoo Eun-hye and Kim Yung-rok - both have no affiliation with the new chairman - as spokesperson and senior deputy spokesperson, respectively.
The new lineup is commendable because Moon sought to achieve balanced appointments - regardless of their personal connections with powerful politicians in the party - and excluded lawmakers who helped him get elected as chairman. The new appointments also reflect the spirit of internal harmony and national integration that Moon repeatedly underscored throughout the race. His paying homage to the graves of two former presidents Syngman Rhee and Park Chung Hee - both with dictatorial images - shortly after his election also translates into a radical departure from the past. He pushed ahead with the visit to the National Cemetery despite vehement opposition from the party.
However, many citizens still wonder if the NPAD has really changed despite Moon’s remarkable turnaround since taking the helm. That’s because of the party leadership’s loose cannons. None of the five members of the party’s supreme council joined Moon’s visits to the graves of the two former presidents, and he didn’t try to persuade them. Even when Rep. Jung Chung-rae, a supreme council member, lambasted the new chairman for paying respects to the two presidents and compared former President Park Chung Hee with Adolf Hitler, Moon shrugged it off with the explanation that his visit to the graves and Rep. Jung’s criticisms are all aimed at saving the embattled party. He should not show his weakness by failing to confront his opponents. We wonder if he really can revamp the troubled party with such feeble leadership.
If Moon wants to give the party a different image, he must rationally wrap up the confirmation process of ruling Saenuri Party lawmaker Lee Wan-koo for prime minister. Mainstream members of the party oppose his nomination.
The opposition is discussing ways to deal with the issue: a boycott of the voting, voting him down, or delaying the vote until after Feb. 12. But the final decision is up to the new chairman. Moon must encourage other lawmakers to settle it with a vote at the National Assembly. If he strives to avert a legislative gridlock, his political position will also be strengthened.
JoongAng Ilbo, Feb. 12, Page 30