Choo rejects MDP campaign role

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Choo rejects MDP campaign role

Decrying her party’s leadership and its role in the impeachment of President Roh Moo-hyun, Representative Choo Mi-ae of the Millennium Democratic Party yesterday refused to serve as the MDP’s chief campaign manager for the April 15 elections.
“Under the leadership of Chairman Chough [Soon-hyung], the party’s pledge to field new reform-minded candidates and to adopt a reformist platform has been nullified amid the impeachment crisis,” Ms. Choo said. “In these circumstances, there is not much I can achieve by moving to the forefront [of the party].”
In an emergency party meeting late Monday night, Millennium Democrats had nominated Ms. Choo as the party’s campaign committee chief. In the same meeting, the party retained Mr. Chough as its chairman.
Ms. Choo said, “We all know what we need to do for the party’s survival.” An aide said this was a reference to her earlier demands that Mr. Chough step down, and that the March 12 impeachment resolution be repealed. But Ms. Choo said she would remain in the party.
Ms. Choo, 46, a former judge who has been nicknamed “Choo d’Arc,” is regarded by many in the MDP as the most viable hope to resuscitate the ailing party. Founded by former President Kim Dae-jung, the MDP was once the governing party, with political strength in the southwestern Jeolla provinces. Since Roh Moo-hyun loyalists left the party last September to form Our Open Party, the MDP has been in decline, perceived merely as a Jeolla-based party of Kim loyalists.
Ms. Choo nearly resigned in February, after demanding that the party change its candidate selection process and stick to its reform pledges. But she stayed on at Mr. Chough’s urging. “He told me to believe in him, and I did,” she said. “The party then immediately started discussing impeachment against the president.”
Several party members said they would keep trying to persuade Ms. Choo to accept the campaign post until tomorrow, when the party’s campaign headquarters will be opened.

by Park Shin-hong
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