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Why Is Uri Party Losing Support?

Posted November. 03, 2005 07:19,   


National Assemblyman Yang Hyung-il, the deputy director of the Uri Party Foundation, the ruling party’s think tank, recently delivered an analysis of why the party’s approval rate has been falling to the party’s leadership.

The foundation thinks the party’s popularity with the public has declined as a result of 10 fallacies on the part of the party, the administration, and Cheong Wa Dae.

The first reason cited by the report blames the party’s loss of popularity on “the issue of the leadership of President Roh.” During the presidential election in 2002, Roh appeared to be a politician dedicated to serving the people. This impression that the public got was backed by the images of “a president who strums a guitar” and “a president who mingles with workers.” However, according to the report, the public has recently gotten the impression that the president is too obstinate because he puts too much emphasis on his beliefs and philosophy.

The report also points out that the party has been obsessed with pursuing political interests that have little relevance to peoples’ daily lives. So-called “reform legislation activities,” such as the move to abolish the National Security Law, were mentioned as prime examples.

“The controversy surrounding ideology” has also adversely affected the party’s popularity. The foundation says, “The public feels little resistance to providing humanitarian assistance to North Korea. However, as was seen in the controversy over Professor Kang Jeong-koo, the public is revolted by any activities that cheer for or praise Kim Il Sung and Kim Jeong Il. The party should have done more to read public sentiment.”

Another reason cited by the report is that the president tends to stick to his decisions when it comes to the appointment of cabinet members and will not reshuffle them unless faced with harsh criticism.

Another reason cited by the report is the government’s poor publicity attempts. The foundation said the government failed in effectively publicizing its “8-31 Comprehensive Real Estate Measures” and policies related to social welfare, increasing the public’s distrust as a result.

Legislator Yang said, “This analysis came out after we had an internal discussion with researchers who have masters or doctoral degrees in politics, economics, or international studies.”

In-Jik Cho cij1999@donga.com