A leader’s way

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A leader’s way

New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) leader Moon Jae-in has suggested forming a troika with Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon and Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo to prepare for the April parliamentary election. Park agreed while Ahn has not made a definite decision. The three are potential presidential contenders for the opposition party. Ahn previously stepped aside for both Park in the mayoral contest and Moon in the presidential race. With waning support within his party, Moon invited the two popular politicians to help boost the image of the party ahead of the general election.

As the main opposition party, the NPAD is eligible for the government’s annual subsidy of nearly 20 billion won ($17.3 million). Its political activities, therefore, must follow not only the law, but also common sense. Even if their actions are legally acceptable, they also must come under public judgment.

If Ahn joins, Moon proposed replacing the current highest decision-making executive committee with the troika arrangement. The plan will likely go through, since they have a large support base. But what does he plan to do with the executive members who were elected through the primary? The party leadership can only dismantle if it resigns en masse. Co-leaders Kim Han-gill and Ahn both stepped down after the NPAD lost the by-election last July. Moon has stayed at the helm despite the disastrous result in the April 29 by-elections. He snubbed repeated calls to step down. But now, he is going the unilateral route to form new leadership. Second-highest Rep. Joo Seong-yong vehemently protested that elected executive members cannot be dismissed by the leader alone.

There is also a legal problem with the troika arrangement. A local government head cannot be involved in election activities. It does not make sense to place the Seoul mayor on the ad hoc leadership board even when he is restricted by the law to stay neutral in campaigns. Ahn stepped down from the top position to take responsibility for an election defeat. It also does not make sense to place such a person at the head of another election campaign.

Moon wants to incorporate Park’s controversial agenda to offer allowances for unemployed young people. Park proposes to hand out 500,000 won to 3,000 jobless young people for up to six months. Moon insists President Park Geun-hye made a similar campaign promise four years ago. But the platform was scrapped, as it lacked feasibility. Moon is in a tight spot. But no matter how bumpy the journey may be, he must stay on the righteous path.

JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 21, Page 30

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