One of their own gamesWith only 10 days left before the ruling Democratic Party (DP) holds its national convention on Aug. 29 to pick its new head and other leaders, the political event has failed to attract public attention. Party insiders even ridicule themselves for a critical “dearth of momentum for a turnaround or policy competition” among candidates for the leadership of the party after a spike in Covid-19 cases and massive damage from the longest-ever rainy season.
The primary reason for the lack of steam for the political festival is the dominance of Lee Nak-yon, a powerful candidate for chairman of the party and a former prime minister. Such a lackluster leadership race in the DP, which occupies 176 seats in the 300-member National Assembly, bodes ill for the future of the party.
Meanwhile, Rep. Yun Hee-suk, a lawmaker from the United Future Party (UFP), helped raise public support for the opposition dramatically through her impressive five-minute speech in the legislature. She struck a chord in the people’s hearts by pointedly attacking the Moon Jae-in administration for trying to distort market principles through a regulation-focused approach to our soaring real estate prices. Her short yet refreshing address moved ordinary citizens by expressing deepening concerns about the government’s failed attempts to rein in real estate prices.
The DP goes the opposite way. After turning a deaf ear to public disgruntlement with the government, party members are staging a contest no one cares about. Even insiders criticize contenders for the leadership for only saying what pro-Moon members want to hear. No contestants have raised the fatal mistakes of the government, which only helped real estate prices to soar despite its 23 sets of measures.
There was no candidate who was willing to put the brakes on the government’s high-handed approach to the market, controversial Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae’s overbearing prosecutorial reforms and the DP’s ideology-driven policies. The result is a dramatic reversal of public support for the two rival parties.
To make matters worse, Heritage of Korean Independence President Kim Won-woong made stunning remarks saying, “69 graves of pro-Japanese soldiers and national traitors buried in Seoul National Cemetery should be dug up and relocated to other places.” He even denied the legitimacy of our national anthem by calling the composer a “national traitor.” Lee Nak-yon concurred with his statement. Frontrunners in the race must make clear their positions on history. Lee’s adherence to blurry rhetoric could be aimed at getting more votes from pro-Moon members, but that’s very inappropriate as a political leader. The DP must seriously reflect on why the people are turning their backs on it.