Go to contents

Goh Kun’s Favorable Position for Victory

Posted June. 11, 2005 06:36,   


“Keeping silent without answering. Smiling instead of answering.”

Reporters of Dong-A Ilbo visited the office of former Prime Minister Goh Kun located at Yeojeondo hall, Yeonji-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, on the afternoon of June 7. When he was asked about his future plans as a politician, he answered with the above two phrases.

In spite of this, Goh responded to the question, “Don’t you think that since you keep hesitating to be involved in political activities, your political boundary has become narrower?” by saying, “I don’t think so. Instead, I think the boundary has grown much wider. The thing is that I don’t use this wide boundary.” Except this, he didn’t say anything further.

On June 9, two days later, Uri Party lawmaker Shin Jung-sik, who maintains a close relationship with Goh, said, “If we carry out a political reorganization at the end of this year, Goh will be placed at the center of this new change.”

Regarding this, former Prime Minister Goh said yesterday, “There is nothing that has changed from my original position.”

However, regardless of his will, it seems to be time for him to move. The political sphere seems to be facing a political big bang now as well. Goh’s recent moves confirm this assumption.

Goh is visiting Gwangju today to attend a party organized by Park Jun-young, governor of Jeonnam province, to set a place for a former governors’ get together, which is now drawing a great deal of attention from politicians because they see the Honam region as the epicenter of political reform if it is possibly launched.

Supporters of Goh Kun predict that the current dual power structure between the ruling Uri Party and the opposition Grand National Party will be broken while they carry out the 2006 local election and deal with constitutional amendments. Under such circumstances, they believe that there is nobody except Goh Kun who can push ahead with political reform after this break takes place.

Namely, given the current complicated political situation, it is extremely difficult to get a clear picture of the next presidential election. For example, the Uri Party is already suffering from internal conflicts, the Grand National Party is handicapped by an anti-Park Geun-hye (the party’s chairwomen) trend, and the Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) hasn’t introduced a candidate to run in the next presidential election yet. Even though there have been attempts to create a new party led by Shim Dae-pyeong, governor of Chungnam province, this move has hardly gotten national support due to its uneven focus on the middle region of the country.

Recognizing such circumstances, Goh is waiting for a critical moment while continuing “Image Politics’ for a while by increasing his contacts with young people.

Regarding this, Uri Party lawmaker Shin said, “We are running a process step by step and are being very active in connecting influential figures in various sectors of society,” adding, “I believe that we can follow Goh’s leadership after gathering about 20 lawmakers regardless of the parties they belong to.”

The ruling Uri Party is heading towards a point of no return. The resignation of Rep. Yum Dong-yeon from the position of National Assembly committee chair is a starting signal of their doomed fate.

In fact, excluding reform-minded lawmakers and combining with the MDP has been often mentioned by certain lawmakers of the Uri Party. Even though a political “big bang” is expected to take place next year when local election is held, this may happen faster than expected. Uri Party lawmakers who came from the Honam region and have pro-Goh Kun tendencies such as Shin, meanwhile, are waiting for the end of this year when the regular session of National Assembly ends.

The Uri Party lawmaker Ahn Young-geun, who belongs to the moderate conservative block of the party, also stressed the necessity of showing a new image of the party and said that Goh will give us a solution that can put the end to the debate over political reform.

When it comes to the MDP, the fact that it doesn’t have reliable candidates for the next presidential election is a key factor that fuels the party’s instability. Within the MDP, however, Goh plays a critical role in bonding party members because Goh’s ideological perspective has already gained the support of a majority of MDP lawmakers. He maintains a strong personal connection with them as well.

Governor Shim, who is seeking the establishment of a new political party, is also expected to meet Goh sooner or later. Regarding this, independent lawmaker Jeong Jin-seok said, “I think Governor Shim will meet former Prime Minister Goh Kun and have a talk about the future direction of the century.”

Dong-ChulKim Young-ChanYoon eastphil@donga.com yyc11@donga.com