Saenuri scrapes the bottom

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Saenuri scrapes the bottom

Veteran conservative politicians lashed out at the Saenuri Party, which has been continuing with a vicious internal factional power struggle — which actually cost it its majority in the incoming 20th National Assembly.

Kim Soo-han, a former Assembly speaker, attended a lunch for a standing advisory group hosted by acting party head Woo Yoo-chul and lamented that the party does not deserve to be a ruling party in a country facing many serious challenges. Another veteran former lawmaker, Yu Jung-sang, warned that the party will further enrage the public by continuing with its factional battle instead of learning something from the election defeat.

The ruling party is indeed in sorry shape. Even after its most disgraceful defeat, the party attempted to place Woo, who should share responsibility for the disastrous outcome, as the head of an emergency committee. Then the leadership tried to woo back victorious lawmakers whom it forced to go independent after stripping them of the right to run for the party.

The invitation also went to Yoon Sang-hyun, a former member of the faction loyal to the president, who was also ousted in a punitive way after he humiliated party head Kim Moo-sung. Yet the factions are wrangling over bringing back Yoo Seong-min, who was denied a nomination without a clear reason except for the fact that he had publicly fallen out of favor with the president and been labeled by the mainstream faction as a betrayer. The continuing fracas suggests that the party neither understood the meaning of the election outcome nor how it ended up as the second-largest party in the legislature after dominating it for so long.

The opposition is already leading the new playing field. The Minjoo Party of Korea and People’s Party went straight to an economic agenda, demanding corporate and overall economic restructuring. They are raising economic issues to adopt the role as the responsible majority political force.

What the Saenuri Party has displayed is a total lack of clarity and the beginning of a fight for the next presidential nomination. It is headed for more humiliation in the next election if it stays so complacent and irresponsible. It must immediately stop all the fighting and restore order in its house. It must complete its role as the majority party in the remaining weeks of the 19th National Assembly by ensuring the passage of all the economy-related bills, and reorganize its leadership with reasonable and progressive figures to demonstrate its need for change.

JoongAng Ilbo, April 22, Page 30
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