A wrecked ship

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A wrecked ship

With fewer than three months left before the presidential election on March 9, the opposition People Power Party (PPP) is in trouble. Following the resignations of its floor leader and policy committee chair, presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol has started to revamp his election campaign committee. Its chairman Kim Chong-in announced a plan to drastically overhaul the campaign committee, including the stepping down of heads of its subcommittees. Yoon also suspended his campaign touring temporarily.

The PPP’s move is like trying to fix the barn door after losing a cow. In polls conducted shortly before and after the New Year, Yoon’s ratings were lower than those of rival Lee Jae-myung from the ruling Democratic Party (DP). And yet, campaign committee chair Kim insisted there was no need to streamline the super-sized campaign committee. After failing to read the voters’ dissatisfaction with Yoon, the PPP belatedly takes action.

The PPP has suffered serious internal division since the election in June of Yoon as its presidential candidate. In an alarming development, thirty-something PPP Chairman Lee Jun-seok refused to serve as the standing campaign committee chair twice. (He is still outside the campaign.) Lee often criticized Yoon over disagreements on managing the committee — as if he is a political commentator. The PPP is like a wrecked ship.

The primary responsibility for the chaos must be taken by Yoon as he could not effectively present a vision for the country, not to mention his repeated gaffes. In particular, Yoon showed an ambiguous attitude toward his wife’s repeated fabrications on her resume to find a job at colleges. That squarely contradicts his previous championing of fairness, a core value he tried to uphold as former prosecutor general. Yoon also should have embraced his contenders in the primary instead of shunning them. That is in sharp contrast with DP candidate Lee, who managed to reconcile with his competitor Lee Nak-yon in the last minute.

Despite public expectations for a change from the Moon Jae-in administration’s unremitting policy failures, Yoon — a political novice — and his party were not able to get traction. Intoxicated by high ratings for Yoon after the PPP’s national convention, the party could not ride the tide. Election committee chair Kim even said that Yoon can win as long as he acts as instructed by the committee. If this is not a farce, what is?

Presidential elections are a race for the country’s future. If Yoon and the PPP cannot persuade voters, a revamp of the campaign committee does not mean anything. Yoon and his party must not forget that voters like to punish arrogant people at the polls.
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