NPAD approves reform measures

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NPAD approves reform measures

The main opposition party on Monday approved a series of political measures aimed at revamping the party’s plummeting popularity by eliminating its powerful secretary general position, redistributing its role and authority, and introducing an impeachment system for elected leaders.

The New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) held a central committee meeting in the afternoon to discuss the measure proposed by its reform council. Of the 555 members on the committee, 395 attended and 302 supported the plans.

After crushing defeats in the April by-elections, the NPAD established a reform council, recruiting Kim Sang-gon, a liberal icon in the education community, to lead it.

Earlier this month, Kim’s reform council presented a plan that included a suggestion that the party eliminate its secretary general position and split the job, so that it could be shared by several senior managers.

The reform plan also included an impeachment system for elected officials in the party, which the NPAD’s central committee also approved. According to the system, the party’s chairman and floor leader may be subject to impeachment by party members in cases of breaches of trust or in which they are deemed to have violated the NPAD’s constitution and ethics codes.

The central committee is composed of 555 members, including party leaders, its 130 sitting lawmakers and the leaders of local chapters. The NPAD members elected to head regional autonomous governments are also part of the central committee.

“Most of the central committee members supported the reform plan,” said NPAD Chairman Moon Jae-in. “But the plan approved today is not all. The reform council will present even stronger measures and the central committee will vote on them in September.”

Moon added that the NPAD members’ determination in pushing forward the reform measures was more important than introducing changes.

When the reform council presented its plan, the NPAD was advised to abolish its Supreme Council, the party’s highest decision-making body, and introduce a new leadership system. Some sitting members of the Supreme Council, as well as Moon’s rivals, strongly criticized the measure, prompting the reform council to decide on delaying deliberations on it.

Although the NPAD has taken its first step to restructure the party, it remains to be seen if these efforts will succeed.

The secretary general is an extremely powerful post for his or her role and authority. In most political parties, the secretary general is in charge of the party’s organization, finance and general affairs, including the nomination process and appointments.

After NPAD Chairman Moon Jae-in named his ally, Rep. Choi Jae-sung, as secretary general last month, some NPAD members strongly condemned the appointment, which further fueled the factionalist fight in the party between loyalists to the late President Roh Moo-hyun and other NPAD members.

Under the reform plan, the secretary general position will be abolished and five senior managers will be appointed by the chairman to split the job.

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