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Dismantling of MDP for Creation of New Party

Posted April. 28, 2003 21:46,   


President Roh and reform-minded lawmakers of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) are pushing for the formation of a new political party which pursues political reform on the premise of constructive dismantlement of the ruling party.

The Korean political community is likely to begin full-scale discussion on the political reorganization.

Reform-oriented lawmakers took their positions on the matter at a recent in-house meeting. The lawmakers include Rep. Jung Dong-young, Chun Jung-bae, Jung Dong-chae, Sin Gi-nam, Lee Ho-woong, former MDP lawmaker Kim Han-kil and a member of the special committee for political reform Lee Kang-chul.

The lawmakers are planning to focus on gathering more support for the creation of a new party from lawmakers within the ruling party and launch an official consultative body as early as the middle of May.

“May 18 will be a turning point in the creation of a new political party,” said Rep. Jung Dong-young.

“I think that a desirable method for forming the new party is to first dismantle the ruling party and then fill the new organization with reform-minded figures,” said former MDP lawmaker Kim Han-gil, who had met with President Roh in person, expressing his own opinion on the formation of a new party.

Meanwhile, around 20 MDP lawmakers, who had gathered lawmakers` signatures demanding breaking up the ruling MDP right after last year`s presidential election, held a meeting on April 28. They decided to push ahead with the creation of a new political party, which will be carried out beyond the MDP framework, declaring “the task of reforming the ruling MDP is fruitless.”

MDP lawmaker Lee Ho-woong said that leading reformists within the MDP decided in a breakfast meeting held Monday to hold a workshop next week where all reform-minded junior lawmakers are expected to participate. At the workshop, a detailed timeline and methods for the creation of a new party will be discussed.

President Roh and the reformist camp of the MDP are expected to persuade party moderates who express caution on the matter, while also requesting that MDP Chairman Chung Dae-chul, join in their political reform drive. It was also found that some reformist lawmakers are persuading some of the `old guard` within the MDP, including close aides to former president Kim Dae-jung, to join the new party.

“We are doing our best to persuade former MDP Chairman Han Wha-gap to join the new party because he is regarded as representative of people in the Homan region,” said a party official.

However, internal friction is expected to emerge from within the MDP reformist camp because reformists favor different methods for creation of the new party.

Seung-Mo Yoon Yong-Gwan Jung ysmo@donga.com yongari@donga.com