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Roh- Chung Political Alliance Comes to Surface

Posted October. 31, 2002 22:33,   


The attempt at the Chung-Roh political alliance is gaining momentum as Rep. Chung Mong-joon of National Unity 21 raised the issue of merging his party and the MDP politically and choosing a candidate through an open competition, and in turn, Roh Moo-hyun, candidate of the Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) has responded that he would consider it.

The two political camps are expected to speed up their negotiations for the candidacy consolidation because the presidential candidates’ registration period is only one month away and Lee Hoi-chang, candidate of the Grand National Party (GNP) takes the lead, followed by Mr. Chung and Mr. Roh in opinion polls, though both sides are likely to have some difficulties in reaching agreement on how to choose a candidate between the two.

Appearing on a KBS radio program on Oct. 31, Mr. Roh said, "Though I think that Mr. Chung is making such a suggestion as part of a political bargaining, if he offers an official suggestion I will review the suggestion in consultation with the MDP’s election preparation committee." This is a departure from his previous stance of flat rejection.

He went, "I want Mr. Chung to raise this issue with feasible strategies, and not to just poke at me as a political maneuvering. I don’t have to answer that yet because I was not offered an official suggestion.

Once the remarks by candidate Roh stirred controversy, after consulting with him, Lee Nak-yeon, spokesman for the MDP’s election preparation committee explained, "The party has not changed from the previous position. Mr. Roh only mentioned that consultation would be needed if there were an official suggestion from Mr. Chung’s camp. Our committee has a negative view over the political alliance."

At a debate organized on the same day by the Journalists Association of Korea at the Korea Press Center, Rep. Chung said, "I am not opposed to the open competition itself. But I should first work for the newly formed party. The issue of deciding a candidate could be solved by an open competition. But whether it should be through a competition or negotiations should be decided later." In other words, he suggested that he would not hurry in the political alliance.

Meanwhile, Kim Won-gil, chairman of the MDP preparation committee for the political alliance hinted at the political merger through policy sharing relating, "We can make political platforms that Rep. Roh and Rep. Chung can agree on. Then with the agreement of the two candidates, we can discuss about ways to choose a candidate."

Jeong-Hun Kim Seung-Heon Lee jnghn@donga.com ddr@donga.com