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Conflict Within Ruling Party Deepens

Posted October. 20, 2004 22:37,   


The ruling Uri Party on Wednesday submitted four key reform bills, including a bill to abolish the National Security Law and the revised criminal law, to the National Assembly.

However, some party members belonging to the “Lawmakers’ Society For Secured Reforms” have been opposing their party platform regarding scrapping the security law and have even considered resigning from their party posts. This move has sparked deeper strife within the party circle.

In regard to the recent move, Uri party floor leader Chun Jung-bae reportedly forced Ahn Young-keun, the chairman of the second Policy Coordinating Committee, to resign from his post. In an interview with Dong-A Ilbo, Ahn revealed the possibility of his resignation, saying, “If I reach the conclusion that it is necessary, I will resign following my own will after the parliamentary audit in order not to be seen as a cause of party conflict.”

He admitted that other members of the party’s secured reform society, including Lee Kye-ahn, Ahn Byong-yub, and Cho Bae-sook (chairpersons of the third, fourth, and sixth policy Coordinating Committees, respectively), “seemed to have similar ideas with me,” and suggested that moderate conservatives in the party might step down from their posts collectively.

However, the Uri Party floor leader explained, “It is inappropriate that high-ranking party members in key party posts who were supposed to decide party platforms and start coordinating policies a month ago revealed their private opinions. So I asked them to refrain from doing that. But, I have never called them into question.”

Meanwhile, as a countermeasure to the ruling party’s move, the GNP’s policy coordinating committee chairman, Lee Hahn-koo, revealed, “The GNP will push through bills designed to boost the economy and protect the constitution at a regular Assembly session,” inviting a fierce squabble in the bill passage process. The ruling party’s reform bills include nine revisions such as the higher education act, the private school law, the primary and secondary education act, the abolition of the National Security Law, the criminal law, the Broadcasting Act, the damage relief act from press releases, the magazines and periodicals law, and the truth-finding and reconciliation act.

At a press conference, Lee revealed his plan to submit revisions of tax reduction bills, such as the special consumption tax law and the income tax law, to stimulate the economy, and the corporate free-trade special law to attract investment from the private sector.

Bills to protect the constitution include the revised national security law, the anti-terrorist act, and the entrance and protection laws for North Korean defectors to protect their human rights.

Young-Chan Yoon Yeon-Wook Jung yyc11@donga.com jyw11@donga.com