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President Roh Practically Support Formation of New Party

President Roh Practically Support Formation of New Party

Posted September. 17, 2003 22:40,   


President Roh Moo-hyun practically expressed Wednesday his support for the drive to form a new party led by reformists within the ruling party by saying, “I don`t want to see the Millennium Democratic Party being split. But I firmly believe that the Korean politics should carry out a drastic reform.”

“I hope that a sweeping reform will be implemented by the Korean political circles. Our priority should be given to the elimination of deep-rooted regional rivalries, which have been long considered the most serious problem for the Korean politics,” the president told local journalists in Gwangju and Jeonnam districts.

“Should we keep enjoying our vested interests heavily relying on landslide support from voters in Jeonlla provinces, the Korean politics will remain unchanged and thus the MDP cannot become a party with nationwide support. In light of that, I really want the reform drive within the ruling party to produce a successful result,” said the president.

During the interview, he criticized the MDP`s old guards mostly hailing from Honam districts by saying, “I think it is problematic that there are people out there who still think they will win public support by aggravating regional sentiments for their own sake. I firmly believe that such old politics should be changed.”

“Among the contentious issues were how to reform the recommendation system to field local representatives and ways of operating the party. But these issues have been drowned out by rows between mainstreams and old guards within the MDP. I don`t want them to take advantage of the on-going development to mislead the public to believe that the president turned his back on voters in the Honam region,” he stressed.

On the controversy over his involvement in the new party formation drive, he expressed his position by saying, “Should I express my willingness to interfere in politics, the opposition GNP will mount offensive against the MDP and the government so that I have restrained myself from expressing my opinion on the matter. However, I think the time will come soon when I have to clarify my position on the issue,” said the president, suggesting that he would take his official stance on the new party reform drive soon or later.

Meanwhile, Grand National Party floor leader Hong Sa-duck said, “It is wrong for the president to hold the GNP responsible for growing regional rivalries. Instead of tying to drive a wedge between the ruling and the opposition parties to fight the growing regional division, he should consider adopting the parliamentary government system.”

Young-Hae Choi yhchoi65@donga.com