A strange party line

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A strange party line

The ruling Saenuri Party approved the return of its seven lawmakers who got elected in the April 13 general election after running independently after being denied of party nominations. They include former floor leader Yoo Seong-min, now a fourth term lawmaker, and three-term lawmaker Yoon Sang-hyun. The ruling party has been under criticism for doing nothing over the last two months after a crushing defeat in the election, which gave it a derogatory moniker — “A party in a vegetative state.”

Nevertheless, Saenuri Party was embroiled in a vehement fight between the pro-Park Geun-hye faction and the rest. Despite her partial accountability for the unprecedented defeat, the president did not speak a word of apology. The party only set up a so-called “emergency committee” to tackle their tough challenges. We welcome the party’s decision to accept, though belatedly, Rep. Yoo, who has been at the center of controversies, because that could be a sign of regret for the party’s overly biased nominations in tune with candiates’ loyalty to the president.

But the party’s flip-flop makes us dumbfounded. It vowed to not allow the lawmakers to come back, but all of a sudden changed its position. Saenuri found fault with Rep. Yoo’s political identity, as clearly seen by its denial of his nomination citing the incompatibility of his ideological direction with party platforms. Yoo insisted the conservative party take a reform path and establish relations with the Blue House on an equal footing. If so, it must first explain why it has decided to accept him now. The party must make clear how it perceives his touted reformative conservatism and horizontal relationship with the presidential office and if it really did kick him out for revenge. That’s the only way for the party to find who’s really responsible for the election defeat.

The same applies to Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun. Proclaiming to be a core member of the pro-Park group, he attacked then-Chairman Kim Moo-sung with vulgar words for his disobedience in nominating candidates. His verbal attacks on the chairman symbolized the dominance of the pro-Park faction in the party even though the group’s greed, bias and arrogance played a crucial role in the ruling party’s shameful loss in the election. The party must explain why it also accepts Yoon this time.

Saenuri plans to publish a white book containing an analysis of why it had to suffer a crushing defeat. We hope the party explains in detail why it has brought Yoo and Yoon over so it could mark a fresh starting point for the party’s rebirth. Without such soul searching, the party can never change.

JoongAng Ilbo, Jun. 17, Page 34
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