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Two Party Majority Alliance Collapse `Countdown`

Posted September. 03, 2001 07:58,   


The National Assembly meets on September 3rd to vote on the Grand National Party`s proposal to dismiss the Secretary of the Ministry of Unification, Im Dong-Won. However, the partner majority parties, the Democratic Party and the United Liberal Democrats Party could not close the gap in their differing views on the issue, making a breakdown highly possible in President Kim Dae Jung and ULD Honorary Chairman Kim Jong Pil`s DJP alliance.

If the DJP alliance falls apart, the breakdown will inevitably make a negative impact the administration`s running governmental affairs, including the North Korea policy, and the political situation with the Presidential elections a year away.

Specifically, there is much interest in whether the retirement of Secretary Im, ULD Chairman Lee Han Dong, and other Cabinet members from the ULD will lead to reshuffling of party relations. The proposal for Secretary Im`s dismissal will pass if over half (136 votes) of the member representatives vote for it. The Grand National Party holds 132 seats while the ULD holds 20 (including 4 defected representatives).

Democratic Party spokesperson Chun Yong-Hak announced that, on September 1, President Kim invited highest ranking representatives to a luncheon-dinner and stated the position that ``The vote is the basis for the alliance. We will squarely deal with the vote.``

``If the ULD votes for the dismissal, which will annul the Sunshine policy, it will be seen as a violation of the alliance. We are prepared in case the alliance breaks down.`` said, Lee Sang Soo, the Democratic Party`s director of general affairs.

However, Lee said, ``If the proposal passes, we must follow the decision as the people`s will.`` and said that President Kim will not use his veto power.

ULD Honorary Chairman Kim Jong Pil stated at a general meeting of representatives on September 1, ``Secretary Im should have submitted his own resignation. We will have to make our intentions clear in the vote and it will be difficult to restore the alliance after that.``

Defectors from the Democratic Party such as Representative Bae Ki Seon and others strongly voiced their opposition saying, ``We will leave the party in case the proposal passes.``

On September 1, National Assembly Chairman Lee Man Seop and representatives from majority and minority parties participated in the opening ceremony for the 225 session of the National Assembly. Majority and minority party leaders met together on this day and negotiated on how they will deal with the vote for the proposal for Secretary Im`s dismissal on September 3.

Moon Chul fullmoon@donga.com