Intensifying splits in the Saenuri
The long-standing rivalry in the ruling party between loyalists to President Park Geun-hye and other fellow lawmakers has resurfaced and renewed tensions between the Saenuri Party and Blue House.
Six months ago, floor leader Yoo Seung-min publicly stood up against the president and now has the reputation of a turncoat on the campaign trail. The two factions remain split over the selection of a leader to spearhead the nomination of party candidates for the April parliamentary election.
Saenuri Chairman Kim Moo-sung blamed the president during a public event for pushing ahead with the National Assembly Advancement Act in 2012 while she was head of the party, which he said resulted in the current standoff in the legislature. The opposing members all reversed their decisions, he argued, when Park “insisted on the bill.” At the time, the president was the interim party leader. He also accused her followers of blindly kowtowing.
Kim was sending a clear message to the presidential office not to meddle in party nominations for candidates for the next election. So far, he has been faithful to the president. He dutifully upheld the president’s wishes and ousted Yoo.
Whether he will press on with his agenda for the nominations remains to be seen. But abruptly bringing up the past doesn’t bode well. A party leader is responsible for ironing out the differences within the party and with the presidential office.
Still, Kim isn’t wrong.
The president has repeatedly blamed the legislature for shirking its responsibilities by delaying the passage of pending economic bills. The ruling party puts the blame on the Advancement Law, which prohibits a bill’s approval unless it has the support of three-fifths of lawmakers who want to revise it.
The president needs to pay attention to the criticisms waged against her. The National Assembly has been stuck in a deadlock since September, and the president has met with ruling and opposition party leaders just twice since. But she has criticized the legislature 21 times.
The election is just two months away, and there are still many bills that the National Assembly needs to approve. Instead of placing the blame on the Advancement Law, the ruling party should get its act together.
JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 29, Page 30