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Roh Promise for Re-primary Without Any Conditions

Posted July. 09, 2002 22:25,   


Roh Moo-hyun, the presidential candidate of the Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) is getting bold in choosing election strategies.

Right after the disastrous local elections, Roh expressed, “I am open to re-primary if we lose the August 8th re- and by-elections.” On July 9, 2002, in the interview with the BBS, he revealed his bolder plan, “I will host a 100% open primary.”

He even said, “Even when we win the August 8th election, I will gladly accept challenge for re-primary. Nobody comes forward now. But, bring in front of me whoever the party members may have in mind (e.g. Rep. Park Geun-hea or Rep. Chong Mong-joon). I’m not afraid of a bout with them.”

But he drew a deadline saying, “We have to settle the candidate matter at least by the end of August. If someone argues for changing of candidate in November, we have to teach him or her a lesson.”

Roh has engaged himself in a strategy distancing him from DJ (referring to the president). At a press conference at the Civil Service Commission, he criticized the administration, “The serious problem we face is that promotions are made for people of certain locality. It doesn’t matter that is actually happening. Important thing is the public’s belief that that is happening.”

He continued, “In the future, promotions may be made based not on locality, but on personal relationships of same alma mater.” This remark is aimed at candidate Lee of the Grand National Party (GNP). MDP members understand Roh’s bold actions stem from his belief in the slim chances his party has in winning the Aug. 8th elections. Han Hwa-Gap, president of MDP conceded in a TV program, “The future [for the Aug. 8th elections] is not so bright.” If the gloomy forecast comes true and Roh takes a passive approach now, it will be devastating. And Roh’s camp seems to believe so. Then regardless of Roh’s intentions, party members would request for re-primary. That is why Roh believes his aggressive position will bring him benefits. Roh, of course, seems to count in the benefit the re-primary might bring in for him: boosting his sliding approval rates.

Furthermore, Roh feels confident in winning a re-primary against anybody. He calculates that nobody wants to blow up his party’s chance at the presidential election by replacing its candidate just prior to the election.

Even though Roh pointed directly out Chong and Part, it is unlikely that they would participate in the race for MDP’s presidential candidate since they have no supporting foundations in the MDP. Therefore, Roh, using the re-primary card, intends to catch two rabbits with one stone: dominating the opposing members within his party and consolidating his supporting grounds.

His strategy to distance himself from DJ is part of the current aggressive strategies of Roh.

But his party is divided regarding Roh’s remarks. One brain to Roh said, “Once Roh decided to waive his privileges, the re-primary should be a real one.” One party member, however, gave only cold shoulder to Roh’s plan saying, “I couldn’t care less.”

Young-Chan Yoon yyc11@donga.com