Enough childish antics

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Enough childish antics

Troubles at the New Politics Alliance for Democracy have gotten out of control, raising concerns about the viability of the main opposition party. Moon Jae-in, the party’s leader, vowed to push ahead with the plan to hold a vote of confidence during the central committee’s three-day meetings that run until Tuesday, but the non-mainstream faction strongly protested and demanded the vote be held in a broader party convention. Moon refused even as most of the executive members advised against going ahead with the vote. He only agreed after persuasion from veteran lawmakers. The discord underscores the serious dysfunction in the leadership.

The non-mainstream faction pushed the cacophony further, bringing lawmakers who had left the party to join the chorus in demanding a party convention. Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo, who no longer holds any position in the party, blatantly demanded senior members call off the central committee meeting. Party leaders, executives, former and incumbent members have all gotten into a muddy fight.

What the row comes down to is control over party nominations for next year’s general elections. We are appalled to discover the main opposition, with experience of governing the country for 10 years and 129 legislative seats, is so pitifully childish and selfish.

Because of an internal power struggle, the opposition has given up the will to contain the ruling power. The National Assembly’s last session was hurt because opposition lawmakers were too busy fighting among themselves to challenge the government or care about state affairs. It is jeopardizing the country’s democracy and worsening public lives. If it keeps on, the party won’t be able to sustain 100 seats after the April elections. A powerful opposition is essential to keep power in check. Moon must compromise with the non-mainstream faction and solve the conflict over the nomination system. Veteran lawmakers from the group loyal to former president Roh Moo-hyun must declare they won’t run in the next election and senior members from the rivaling faction should do the same. The old guard must step aside to allow in new talent.

If such a compromise is not made, the party’s troubles won’t go away even if Moon wins the confidence vote. If Moon uses his newfound power to contain the antagonistic faction, the party will continue to be fraught with unrest and conflict. Moon should sit down with non-mainstream members and the two sides must work together sincerely to save the party from the brink of destruction.

People are getting tired of never-ending fights in the opposition. Rivaling factions must address dialogue with the resolve that this could be their last chance to restore the party name. If they cannot, it would be better to go their separate ways.

JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 14, Page 34

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