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GNP Candidates Facing Complex Nomination Process

Posted March. 12, 2007 07:18,   


As Grand National Party’s nomination race preparation organization, known as the “2007 National Victory Committee,” has not been able to come to an agreement on when and how to nominate a candidate due to differences in presidential election candidates’ opinions, the party’s highest legislative committee is getting involved in the process.

The nomination race preparation committee (NRPC) submitted two bills on March 9, titled, “July-200,000 people” and “September-230,000 people,” after the controversy to the highest committee. The highest committee is planning to hold a meeting today to consider three plans of action in response, including an extension of the NRPC’s activity term.

The highest committee’s decision has become more important since former Seoul City mayor Lee Myung-bak and ex-representative Park Geun-hye, two presidential hopefuls of the party, have both said, “I will follow the party’s decision.”

NRPC’s activity term would be extended-

The NRPC is in position where it would prefer that the presidential election candidates reach an agreement. Spokesperson Na Kyoung-won said yesterday, “Representative Kang Jae-seo is of the opinion that the NRPC should be given one more opportunity.”

However, many observers say that the activity term extension may not guarantee an agreement. Former mayor Lee has hinted that discussion from the NRPC’s perspective may not be meaningful any longer, while former representative Park is in opposition to NRPC due to suspicions of favoritism. Lawmaker Won Hee-ryong may not join the discussion on NRPC at all.

Based on the above, it is becoming evident that the highest committee is set to make a final decision on the nomination race bill.

Although the highest committee’s decision should fundamentally be by mutual agreement, different opinions should be put to a vote. Considering the background of the highest committee members, some analysts say that Park has the most advantages.

Will the candidates consent to the party’s decision?-

Major presidential election candidates said that they “would follow the party’s decision,” but they are feeling uncomfortable about it in reality.

Lee, who is insisting on finishing the nomination race before August, is concerned about the party’s opinion that the nomination race should be conducted after the pan-ruling party candidates materialize. It is questionable whether Lee would accept the highest committee’s decision for a September nomination race.

It is also a point worth noting that Park, who is insisting that the existing party’s constitution and regulations be maintained, may not accept the “200,000 people bill.” The enlarged scale could be disadvantageous to Park in that she lags behind Lee in public opinion polls. Some members in her camp said, “She may consider it favorably, in case the nomination race is pushed back to September.”

Former provincial governor Son said several times that, “I will not just serve as a foil for the nomination race.” He insists that the nomination race be pushed back to September and the number of electoral college members be increased to over 400,000.

However, most people have the opinion that it is not easy to recruit such a large number of electoral college members, and it would cost too much. Some people say, “Son may be trying to justify himself to evade unfavorable nomination race conditions.”

Total nomination race expenses amount to 5 billion won for 200,000 people-

It is forecasted that nomination race expenses will amount to five to six billion won if the number of nomination race electoral college members increases to 200,000-230,000.

A Grand National Party executive said, “Municipal and provincial event expenses may amount to three to four billion won; the nation’s electoral college selection expense for 60,000 people will cost 1.8 billion won; and public-opinion polls will cost 200 million won.”

However, the Grand National Party is planning not to increase the trust fund amount of 200 million won consigned by nomination race candidates in the 2002 presidential election, if possible, for minority candidates.