Toward a genuine revampThe Liberty Korea Party (LKP) has made the drastic decision of depriving 21 lawmakers of their chairmanships of its local chapters. The revamp goes way beyond our expectations that the embattled party would replace about 10 local chapter heads. LKP legislators on the list for replacement include Rep. Choi Kyung-hwan, a four-term lawmaker now under detention for alleged abuse of power during the Park Geun-hye administration, and Rep. Hong Moon-jong, another four-term lawmaker, as well as Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun, a three-term lawmaker. They are all pro-Park legislators.
The list also includes anti-Park legislators, such as Rep. Kim Moo-sung, a six-term lawmaker, who is being held responsible for splitting the party by supporting the impeachment of Park in the National Assembly. Rep. Kim eventually returned to the party, but can hardly avoid responsibility for the damage caused.
The main opposition’s last-minute decision carries great significance as it reflects the party’s determination to regain the public trust it lost colluding in the mismanagement of government and taking part in the disastrous division of the party, as a committee aimed at reinforcing its organization pointed out. We welcome the LKP’s step to reshape itself.
But it is a big mistake if the party believes it can dispel all of the public distrust through the decision. As political analysts and the opposition party are keenly aware, that was a crisis of trust triggered by the party itself. When it was a ruling party, it could not put the brakes on the unprecedented abuse of power scandal involving Choi Soon-sil, Park’s confidante. That led to her ouster after the Constitutional Court’s ruling in favor of her impeachment. Even after the liberal Moon administration launched last year, the LKP was engrossed in a factional battle between pro-Park and anti-Park groups without demonstrating the ability to hold the ideology-driven Moon administration in check or proving its raison d’être as an alternative power.
Despite the rapid changes in our political environment, it adhered to the old paradigms of conservatism without presenting any new vision to meet the demands of the times, including the wealth gap and peace on the Korean Peninsula. The LKP must ask itself why it is being shunned by the public. Fortunately, its approval rating is steadily rising. But that’s mostly thanks to the growing public dissatisfaction with the ruling forces. The party must take the reshuffle as an opportunity to start anew. If not, the reshuffle will be remembered as nothing but a political show.
JoongAng Ilbo, Dec. 17, Page 34