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Chairwoman Park’s One-Year Anniversary

Posted July. 19, 2005 03:22,   


Chairwoman Park Geun-hye of the Grand National Party is a difficult person to assess. She seems uncomplicated, yet it is impossible to know what she is thinking; she seems gentle, yet she is tough when she wants to be.

Chairwoman Park was adamant about maintaining the National Security Law, yet she has a moderate view on North Korea. When the ruling party tries to attack, she does not fight, she evades. And more often than not, the attacking side ends up losing its momentum.

She brought all the “outsiders” of the Grand National Party together to the mainstream within a year of her appointment this way. Her status and influence is growing by the day. The once-defeatist Grand National Party is regaining its vitality.

Park’s One-Year Anniversary Press Conference-

Chairwoman Park held a press conference at the Grand National Party headquarters in Yeomchang-dong Gangseo-gu, Seoul where she commented on President Roh’s coalition plan, saying, “A coalition is not needed. What is needed for the people is a change of power through elections.”

On the ruling party’s suggestion that the elections should be changed to “multiple representatives per constituency”, she stated, “The president mentioned this because he was unsure of winning a majority in the National Assembly (under current law), but if this is implemented, the system will change to the multi-party system and the government will become unstable.”

On Uri Party Chairman Moon Hee-sang’s proposition to cooperate on policies concerning real estate and North Korean issues, she stated her opposing view, “Policies should not be a jumble of different views.”

On Rep. Hong Joon-pyo who is preparing a proposal for a “One-person, one-home policy,” Chairwoman Park stated, “This type of law should not be made from a party opinion.” She was very poised and confident on this day. It stems from the victory during the April 30 by-elections, 40 percent party approval ratings, and the reduction of “outsiders” within the party.


Park can read the public very well. On this day, she wore an orange rubber bracelet that was being sold to support undernourished children on July 6. Many party members had worn the bracelet with Park on the day of the show, but she was the only one wearing it at the conference.

She keeps her 350 “promises to the public” written in her diary and checks it regularly. She keeps up with her personal promises to shopkeepers and merchants. It is this effort that makes her the “Joan of Arc” of the Grand National Party who saves the party in every election.

However, sometimes her firm belief that she is right can tire her colleagues. She staunchly defended spokesperson Jeon Yeo-ok when she was besieged by gossip, and she carried through the appointment of Kim Ki-chun as head of the Yeouido Research Center, despite her colleagues’ allegations that he was not suitable to lead the party’s reforms.

Even Chairwoman Park’s close colleagues cannot say “Chairwoman Park is as such.” Chairwoman Park is still hidden behind her veil.

Young-Chan Yoon Jung-Eun Lee yyc11@donga.com lightee@donga.com