A badly timed fightIn yesterday’s central committee meeting of the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), party members approved an initiative for nomination reforms, which embattled Chairman Moon Jae-in pinned his position on. With the committee decision, Moon passed a first confidence vote. But another one is supposed to be coming up. The party’s internal schisms are anything but fixed.
Ahn Cheol-soo didn’t attend the meeting after his demands for the postponement of the meeting and the withdrawal of a public poll for the confidence vote were not met. The nonmainstream faction of the party walked out in protest of Moon’s decision not to allow a secret ballot vote. That translates into a demonstration of political distrust of Moon.
Moon also expressed a deep grudge about the nonmainstream group. “When we cannot accept the reform agendas from the innovation committee, how can we talk about reform?” he said. “We must not repeat our past mistake of not putting our words into action.” The comment was aimed at Ahn, who served as chairman of the party before Moon.
The NPAD’s internal friction is hardly new. But it has gone too far. It is a shame that the party seems intent on fueling conflict instead of fixing its internal chaos once and for all. The public will not be pleased to witness such a dirty fight within the opposition.
Moon’s proposal to hold a vote of confidence in his own leadership was ill-timed. The day he came up with the idea of a confidence vote was just a day before the National Assembly kicked off its regular audit of the government. Despite the opposition’s innate obligation to check on the government performance, Moon concentrated instead on finding a way out of his personal problems with the party. Opposition parties in the past stopped fighting with one another to focus on their basic mission as inspectors of the government.
But Moon ended up thrusting his embattled party into bigger internal discord at the very moment when he should demonstrate leadership in
auditing government activities. In the audit session too, opposition lawmakers resorted to the bad practice of disgracing heads of government organizations through insults. If Moon really wants to decide his own political future with a confidence vote rather than concentrating on the opposition’s basic role, we cannot but question his qualification as leader of the opposition.
The mainstream faction may feel tempted to hold a confidence vote before the Chuseok holidays. But it’s time to focus on auditing the government.