[Editorial] A suspicious game rule change

Home > Opinion > Editorials

print dictionary print

[Editorial] A suspicious game rule change

Rep. Chung Jin-suk, chair of the emergency committee of the People Power Party (PPP), made clear his intention to elect a new head of the governing party in a national convention early next year by counting in party member votes only. He pledged to stage the upcoming convention “only for the sake of party members.” Currently, the PPP elects its head by reflecting party member votes 70 percent and non-member votes 30 percent. Non-member votes come from a public opinion survey on all candidates for the party leadership. The remarks by the interim leader of the party represent his determination to change the rules of the primary race of the conservative party. Chung based his determination on a threefold increase of party members, from 280,000 a year ago, and a diversification in the age of party members.

If the chief of the PPP is elected that way, it raises the possibility of candidates close to President Yoon Suk-yeol being elected as the head. That will inevitably trigger controversy over fairness of the election rule. Opponents are attacking the interim leader for “trying to exclude candidates with no connection with the president from the race even if they lead in opinion polls.”

The PPP has reflected the results of opinion polls in the primary to help overcome the limits of the Yeongnam-based party and extend its base to the rest of the country. But if the party elects its head only through party member votes thanks to the increase in the number of party members, it is not so convincing. A senior official in the presidential office has fueled the controversy by saying that if a presidential aspirant is elected head of the party, it could hamper fair nominations of candidates in the next parliamentary elections. His comment suggests the president’s negative perception toward candidates not affiliated with him, such as Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo and former lawmaker Yoo Seong-min, a former presidential candidate.

Yoo vehemently criticized the interim leader for “trying to change the goal post in an ongoing soccer match.” If such confusion persists in the PPP, the primary race to pick its party chief will certainly go adrift, as a new party head exercises the rights to nominate candidates in the parliamentary elections next April.

The PPP has failed to show the image as a governing party over the past seven months after its victory in the Mar. 9 presidential election. The party was embroiled in internal conflicts over its maverick chairman Lee Jun-seok for quite a long time. It could not pass any of the 77 bills proposed by the government, due to a critical lack of its seats in the legislature. The party needs to reshape itself. If controversy over primary race rules continues, it cannot win public confidence or win the next parliamentary elections.
Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)