Break away from the old school

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Break away from the old school

Three-term lawmaker Kim Se-yeon of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) announced that he won’t be running in the election in April. The 46-year-old businessman-turned-representative from Busan has been dubbed an aspiring next-generation politician for the conservative party. Few expected him to retire. His decision differs from those in the opposition party who have failed to break out of old-school habits.

As Kim said, the LKP is seriously ill and cannot be saved by just a few people leaving. The government and ruling party have lost public confidence following the controversy over former Justice Minister Cho Kuk. Even long-time supporters of President Moon Jae-in are turning their backs. But approval ratings for the LKP remain stubbornly flat.

“The LKP’s time is over. It cannot win the general election or a presidential election. It is unfit to rebuild the fallen country,” Kim said. He urged for “creative destruction” as the party is like a “zombie” causing “ill to history.”

The LKP was defeated in the parliamentary election in 2016, the presidential election in 2017, and last year’s local elections. Still, the house is a wreck with factions for and against former President Park Geun-hye wrangling against one another, although she was impeached and has been behind bars for over two years. The LKP went overboard recently even amid negative public sentiment towards the ruling power due to the Cho controversy when the party caused an uproar over the attempted recruitment of a disgraced former four-star army general after he and his wife were accused of mistreating conscripts and over handing out awards to lawmakers who grilled Cho during his confirmation hearing. It invited sneers and created distrust.

In a post announcing his withdrawal from his next election bid, Kim made an honest observation. “When the LKP holds a rally in Gwanghwamun, a maximum of 50,000 people participate. But crowds 10 or 20 times that number appear at rallies hosted by civilian groups. No matter how bad the Democratic Party (DP) is, the LKP has never won over the DP. The ruling party leads comfortably in approval ratings. The LKP has been shunned. It is the most hated party. It has no sensibility, empathy or ability to communicate. It is so daft that it does not even understand why it is being mocked.”

Kim advised the leadership, including Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn and floor-leader Na Kyung-won, to resign, dissuade the party and start anew. The party must pay heed to Kim’s advice. It must stop seeking selfish political interests. Otherwise, it will face cruel judgment from the people and become abolished for good.

JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 18, Page 34
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