Shame on the opposition
The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) is going astray. The recent executive meeting underscored all its problems and weaknesses: dysfunction from a lack of unity and will to unite. During the meeting, Rep. Joo Seung-yong repeatedly urged current leadership to resign to take responsibility over the landslide defeat in the recent by-elections. Another member of the supreme council Jung Cheong-rae said he was bluffing and that he would never really resign.
Joo had been saying he would step down from the leadership post unless party leader Moon Jae-in realigns the leadership structure away from the faction loyal to the late President Roh Moo-hyun. Joo stormed out of the meeting room saying he was humiliated by the accusation after announcing his resignation from the supreme council. Amid the heavy air in the room, Rep. Yoo Seung-hee suddenly sang the song “Gone are the Spring Days,” saying it was a tribute to seniors for Parents’ Day.
Members of the same party can wrangle and disagree about the reasons and accountability after an election defeat. But how they conduct their soul-searching in a high-level meeting where decisions are made could represent their standards. A senior party member publicly calling another member out for bluffing during a meeting can hardly be considered right or decent. Jung often has not been able to be civil. When Moon paid his respects before the tombs of early presidents Syngman Rhee and Park Chung Hee, he criticized the act by saying the Jews cannot pay respect to Adolf Hitler’s tomb even though the Germans have apologized.
Yoo singing a song out of the blue during a formal executive meeting is also farcically inept and inopportune. Does she consider the council meeting as a kind of elderly home? The party is now being mocked for its comical display and performance more fit for a sitcom.
The supreme council system in both the ruling and opposition parties has long been questioned. The members on the board attack each other or the rival party with exaggerated and harsh rhetoric to gain attention from the media and voters.
Nowhere in the constitution or law is it required for parties to establish an executive board. Executive boards are just a convenient way of forming an inner circle. If the board is only self-serving, the members should keep low profiles and concentrate on running the party well instead of making a racket. Parties must rethink their supreme council system. Meanwhile, the NPAD must first set its house in order.
JoongAng Ilbo, May 11, Page 34