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GNP Fails to Quell Internal Feud

Posted May. 10, 2007 08:18,   


Embattled Grand National Party chairman Kang Jae-sup unveiled an array of arbitration measures today for the upcoming party primary for the presidential election, which he hoped would increase the number of electoral college members and widen the reflection of public opinion. The measures were aimed at patching up an internal feud between the party’s two presidential hopefuls.

However, former GNP chairwoman Park Geun-hye refused to accept the proposal, casting a dark cloud over the party’s plans as well as the presidential election. Some party members are worried over a possible breakup of the party unless the two leading presidential hopefuls reach a compromise. Some predict that the party may hold an in-house vote with about 40.000 members of electoral college in June under the current party guidelines.

Chairman Kang said in a press conference held in Seoul today, “The number of electoral college voters will be expanded from the current 200,000 to 231,652, or 0.5 percent of the total number of voters. Even if the turnout of voters doesn’t reach two thirds, or 67 percent, it will be regarded as that amount, so the ratio of public opinion will be increased.”

Last March, the panel for the GNP primary election released its electoral college guidelines consisting of 20 % delegates (40,000), 30 % ordinary members, 30 % citizens, and the remainder consisting of public opinion survey results. Public opinion will be calculated by considering average rates relative to respective voting rates.

Chairman Kang added, “We also plans to expand the polls to the city, county, and district levels and providing one-day simultaneous voting instead of using circuit polls to increase public participation in the voting process.” He called for the two leading presidential candidates to accept the proposal, saying, “I will send the measures to the National Council of Senior Members next week.”

Responding to this development, former GNP leader Park Geun-hye told reporters during her visit to Daejeon, “First, the fundamental principles of the primary have collapsed; second, party guidelines and regulations were breached; lastly, the basic principles of democracy were broken. If you were in my position, you wouldn’t accept these measures from Chairman Kang. It is just outrageous,” strongly indicating her intention to reject the proposal.

Former Seoul mayor Lee Myung-bak said, “I just instructed my aide to analyze the measures.” An official on his team said, “Although we feel the measures are generally short of our expectations, we are considering accepting them for the party.”

The team led by former party chairwoman Park argued, “We want to pursue a scheduled primary,” but the former mayor team has expressed its discontent over the public opinion clauses.