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Uri Policy Conflicts Surface Again

Posted November. 22, 2006 06:55,   


The Uri Party seems to be having an internal political conflict over policies.

On November 21, 45 Uri lawmakers urged the party leadership to make decisions on main policy issues in a general policy meeting.

Among them, Im Jong-seok, Lee Mok-hee, Park Yeong-seon, Kim Yeong-ju, Lee Kyeong-sook, and Min Byeong-du said at a press interview, “The identity of the Uri Party has been shaken by confusion over policies. We need to discuss policy through a general policy meeting since the party is torn between different opinions over policies.”

It is pointed out that these lawmakers, mostly former 386 generation or out-of-power activists, are calling for a general policy meeting because they are discontent with the conservative and practical line represented by Policy Committee Chairman Kang Bong-gyun. A newly elected lawmaker who signed up for the meeting said, “It is actually a meeting to veto Kang.”

They are raising questions about Kang’s recent decisions and statements, including lifting the equity investment ceiling, participating in the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), and raising the bar for general real estate taxes. The point is that the keynote of such policies does not match the party’s identity.

Lee Mok-hee argued, “Many of us think the Policy Committee has deviated from the party’s identity. Those in the line of policy making should not say things against the party’s opinion to the public.” When the party’s decision to lift the equity investment ceiling was announced on November 15, Lee said, “Those who attended the government-ruling party meeting are rightists.”

Chairman Kang said, “I can’t understand what they are discontent with.” His point is that he has never claimed his own personal opinions are the party’s. He also thinks there is no need for a general policy meeting, saying, “Policy decisions can be made at the Emergency Countermeasure Committee held three times a week.”

“Silsa Gusi,” a group of technocrats in Uri Party, including Kang and vice chairman Chae Su-chan, has made a move to make an alliance with “Hope 21 Forum,” a group of moderates. Some point out that the “reformative vs. practical line” debate that haunted the party when it was founded may have reappeared.