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A Disoriented Ruling Party

Posted June. 01, 2005 06:46,   


The mounting sense of crisis spreading over recent political scandals, including a series of controversies involving Cheong Wa Dae, has prompted some in the Uri Party to demand an overhaul of its political lineup.

In an Uri Party workshop involving its party members and central committee members held on May 30 and 31, a lawmaker from the metropolitan area said, “The Presidential advisory committee and advisors must be held responsible for the recent incidents.”

This remark was intended to criticize the inadequate behavior and responses of presidential advisors and members of the Presidential Committee on the Northeast Asian Cooperation Initiative concerning the allegations related to the Russian oilfield development and Haengdam Island development projects.

However, on the flip side of this criticism lies a fundamental distrust in the dynamics of the administration. Many Uri Party members suspect that accurate situation appraisals and public opinion are being blocked by those with personal connections within Cheong Wa Dae and are not being delivered effectively to the president.

“Had there been accurate reports on and responses to the Russian oil development project at an early period, the president would not have had to deplore the current situation by saying, ‘The people’s confidence in the government has been shaken due to the oil project incident,’” an Uri Party official said.

The ruling party’s vice floor leader, Oh Young-shik, dismissed the remark as “the mere personal opinion of a member,” but it seems the call for an overhaul will not go away easily.

Instead, this demand is expected to expand to include the reform of the cabinet and the entire leadership of the party. Lawmaker Yoo Seon-ho expressed his commitment to this and called for “a cabinet reshuffle.”

Yeon-Wook Jung jyw11@donga.com