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[Editorial] Sohn Leaves His Party

Posted March. 20, 2007 07:15,   


Sohn Hak-gyu put an end to his ambiguous move, declaring his departure from the Grand National Party yesterday. “I decided to leave the GNP to break up the fetters of obsolete conservatism and incapable leftists and will create a new road for the new Republic of Korea," said Sohn in the press conference. “They are also rejecting pain for a change and ignoring the path for national unity and coexistence. I would rather be a martyr for the people than the GNP,” he added.

Sohn may have needed some excuses for his departure, but it was his “self-denial,” something that you cannot easily understand by thinking what he has done and said so far. As a conservative politician, he has built a brilliant political career over the past 14 years. He began his career in 1992 when he joined a conservative party, a former body of the current Grand National Party, and he served as a three-term lawmaker, a minister of Health Care and Welfare, and the Gyeonggi Province governor. Now he comes out of his party, criticizing his party for several excuses as he sees a slim chance of winning in the presidential election. It is doubtful whether this is the right way of doing politics and behaving as a responsible politician.

Every time people raised doubts about his participation and acceptance of the intraparty race, he said, “Look at my past” or “I am the doorkeeper of the Grand National Party.” He meant he was going to be with the party til the end. Koreans believed as such because he seemed to value faith and trust as a politician. People applauded him for his 100-day tour of the country glad-handing Korean citizens because they believed him. However, he changed his words, betraying the trust of the Korean people.

When this newspaper wrote an editorial “Does Sohn make a change?,” he criticized this newspaper using expressions such as “distortion,” “biased,” “doubtful about the level and the fairness of the media.”

Now it makes us curious how he will justify himself. Will he say it was the only way to do so?

Sohn’s departure from the GNP is a misfortune for the nation’s political progress. He said he will create a new political order to lead a new civilization, calling himself as the “21st century leader,” but all sounds like justification for himself. It makes us feel as if we were back at the time when Lee In-je, a presidential candidate 10 years ago, ran for the presidency independently after not accepting the results of the intraparty race, arguing the need for the change of the generation.

Even though Sohn said, “I did my best to change the party,” few party members think that he made his utmost efforts. He criticized the party for its obsolete conservatism, saying the race rules were unreasonable, but his argument is not convincing. Now is time for him to look back on his faulty insistence on the unrealistic and non-negotiable “one million electoral college” system, blaming the structural problem of the party for his low poll.