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[Editorial] Party Reform Should Start from Inside

Posted December. 22, 2002 22:46,   


Reform should begin from inside. If you take to outside for reform, the reform efforts could run aground by losing persuasive power. It is like a doctor should wash his or her hands before performing an operation. In this context, President-elect Roh Moo-hyun was right when he said that reforming the ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) is the most urgent. And the fact that 23 reform-minded MDP lawmakers urged the dissolution of the party in favor of a new grouping signals that the party is already gearing up for reform.

When they said that Roh’s victory does not have meaning in the MDP’s second accession to power, they exactly read voters’ mind. Therefore the MDP should start reform process by "decoloring the party of President Kim Dae-jung’s color or watering down the color." This process cannot but entail firing a lot of figures. Those to be on death row first will be those responsible for corruption and irregularities involving high-ranking government officials.

Further, the party need dissolve itself for a new grouping. At the same time, as the president-elect pledged in the campaign, sweeping cleanup should be conducted through primaries involving the public or nomination from below. Mr. Roh made a comment on opening the MDP door completely also in the same context. In short, President-elect Roh and the new mainstream within the party should center on overcoming the Kim government, rather than on succession of it for reform.

Riding on the shift-in-generation tide, internal reform and the following conflict between the old and the new within the ruling party are likely to send ripple effects on political circles as a whole. When the MDP reform efforts are combined with the reform movement of the opposition Grand National Party (GNP), which is now struggling to find a way out, they could create a huge reform trend, fundamentally changing the Korean political landscape.

Given that who will replace the outgoing Lee Hoi-chang is still uncertain, the GNP should find the proper place where it will stand through radical reform in order to meet the demand of the times. We hope that the reform efforts of the MDP and the GNP produce tangible results, thereby creating an advanced political culture.