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23 Lawmakers Close to President-elect Roh Demanding Dissolution of MDP

23 Lawmakers Close to President-elect Roh Demanding Dissolution of MDP

Posted December. 22, 2002 22:41,   


Within the ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP), which won the Thursday presidential election, 23 reform-mined lawmakers, including Rep. Cho Sun-hyeong, Jeong Dong-yeong, Sin Gi-nam, and Chu Mi-ae, urged the dissolution of the MDP for a new grouping on Sunday.

However, as the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae and some MDP members supporting President Kim Dae-jung are opposed to the idea, the MDP and the government is being drawn into the maelstrom on the issue of party reform earlier than expected.

At a news conference at the party headquarters in Yeouido, central Seoul, Rep. Cho Sun- hyeong said, "The election of Roh Moo-hyun as president has meaning not in the MDP’s another accession to power, but in the victory of the Korean people, who demand an end to old-style politics. We suggest the dissolution of the MDP in favor of a new grouping to root out regionalism of old-style politics."

Calling for MDP defectors and lawmakers close to President Kim Dae-jung to take a backseat in party affairs, they also said "Those responsible for the corruption and misrule of the incumbent Kim government should be brought to book and those who showed opportunist behaviors contrary to democracy principles should be held accountable."

They hinted at creation of a new party for reform saying, "Though the MDP suffered crushing defeats in the June 13 local autonomy elections and August 8 by-elections, nobody claimed for the defeat. So the public already ‘declared the party dead.’ Following public judgment, we will give up our vested rights and start from the starting point again."

With respect to direction on party reform, those reformers proposed reducing the power of the party headquarters; its’ focusing on activities on the floor and reforming the National Assembly by fielding candidates that get backing from the public in the 17th general elections.

Meanwhile, when it comes to their suggestions, President-elect Roh Moo-hyun, who is taking rest on Jeju Island agreed with them in principle but showed his position that reform measures should be discussed through official party procedures.

A senior official at the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae showed regret on the fact that some MDP members mentioned the corruption of the current administration and countered that though there were some individual corruption scandals under the incumbent government, they were not the cases at government level.

MDP party leader Han Hwa-gap expressed his complaints over the reform-minded lawmakers’ move saying, "Party reform and political reform are needed. But as a ruling party that controls less than half the Assembly seats, the MDP should unit to lend a hand in national administration against majority opposition Grand National Party (GNP)."

On the other hand, on that day high-ranking campaigners of the GNP held a meeting to discuss setting up of a new committee for the unity and cleanup of the party. But they failed to reach a conclusion on the proposal by party leader Suh Cheong-weon of holding a national convention early in January. The GNP is expected to explore detailed ways on its future path at a meeting of lawmakers and heads of party branch offices slated for Dec.23.

Jeong-Hun Kim Jong-Hoon Lee jnghn@donga.com taylor55@donga.com