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Two Voices of the Uri Party

Posted May. 05, 2007 03:02,   


War clouds are hanging over the ruling Uri Party.

Uri loyalists have started to unite recently, opposing the dismantlement of the Uri Party, and former Uri Party chairmen Chung Dong-young and Kim Geun-tae are gathering a group opposing President Roh.

Under the circumstance, Uri Chairman Chung Sye-gyun is calling for an organized integration, criticizing both the pro-Roh group and the two former chairmen.

In this regard, the split is dividing into those who remain in the Uri Party and those who want to withdraw from the party.

The movement of those close to President Roh is orderly as if they are being moved by an invisible hand. Late last month, those who have served high-level positions in the current administration and the president’s 386 aides, such as Ahn Hee-jeong, formed a forum and started to nationalize it. A supporter who has served key positions in the current administration said that the movement is systematizing policies, not political power, but nobody is buying that argument.

Movie star Myeong Gye-nam opened an office in a building opposite to the National Assembly building, and opened an Internet homepage to promote the current government. In addition, Pro-Roh lawmakers within the Uri Party are forming a network.

In the meantime, President Roh himself seems to take part in the upcoming presidential election. Such an attitude is rarely seen in the previous presidential elections. Based on his approval rating of 30%, the president is voicing his opinions and supporters of the president are uniting.

“It is highly likely that the Uri Party will go through a remodeling, and a candidate for the presidential election will be selected from the party,” said an Uri Party lawmaker.

Two former chairmen of the Uri Party have not announced any new messages. However, they are symbolic of a tense atmosphere and are saying that more lawmakers will soon leave the party collectively.

The two have been competitors within the party, but they seem to have come together for now. People are saying that a withdrawal from the party is inevitable should the president continue to interfere and those close to the president try to maintain the party.

There are rumors that a movement to gather those who have defected from the party has begun already. The important matter at this point is to lay out a vision, and the two sides have strengthened efforts to contact those outside the party. Former chairman Kim Geun-tae met lawmaker Chun Jung-bae, who left the party, and discussed the future direction of the party.

Chairman Chung Sye-gyun and the current leadership say that the integration efforts should be strengthened. However, they face difficulties as the prospects for integration are not bright. Should the two former chairmen decide to leave the party, those calling for an orderly integration will have to make a decision. Taking such options into account, there were voices of criticism directed at both the president and the two former chairmen at the Supreme Council meeting.

Chairman Chung appeared on a KBS radio program and criticized the president, saying, “The president could make political comments as he himself is a politician, but many people within the Uri Party are raising objections.”

“It is unrealistic to do something after leaving the party, and it is inappropriate to dissolve the party without a clear program or plan,” he said.