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[Editorial] I Urge for Choe and Lee’s Resolution

Posted February. 20, 2004 22:45,   


While the Grand National Party (GNP) is nearly consenting to its leader Choe Byung-yul’s voluntary retirement, Choe is still negative to the idea. If he refuses his retirement in the end, it could cause a party split. So his voluntary retirement seems to be the right solution for the matter.

If the general trend is recognition that “the party cannot be reborn under Choe’s leadership,” his obstinacy will deteriorate the struggle for change into an ugly contest for supremacy in the party. That would be killing the party twice. Choe should make a quick decision.

The former leader of the party, Lee Hoi-chang cannot be exonerated in this matter. The ultimate responsibility for the GNP being in such a hard situation rests with him. Due to his illicit presidential campaign fund, the party was stigmatized as a “car unit trading party,” originating from the fact that the party carried the illegal money using trucks, and is still not free from that dishonor now, just about 50 days ahead of the general election.

As a person who was a presidential candidate of the party twice, and was loved as well as respected by party members, Lee should do what he can. Even he himself declared in an apology to the people last year that “I am totally responsible for the situation and I would willingly go to jail.”

Choe and Lee should help the GNP to be born again as a collected body of conservatism. They should not blame each other or show an attitude that it is nothing to do with them being retired. They should display a self-sacrificing spirit and courage which shows that not only themselves, but also people related to the illicit fund, are ready to put an end to the current era of corruption and help the party escape its image of being a “corrupt conservative group.”


A corrupt conservative group that only misses its past glory and leads a comfortable life in vested rights is not true conservatism. Choi and Lee should lead the reform to create a healthy and rational conservative force. And for this, the party needs to ask whoever disturbs the reform of the party to retire voluntarily.

That will be a last service for the party and the nation. A crisis can be an opportunity. The GNP should have a new form of true conservatism. Whether to retire or not could be a trivial matter compared to this. It is time for Choe and Lee to make up their minds and their devotion.