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GNP Contenders Rule Out Compromise

Posted May. 14, 2007 07:45,   


Although Grand National Party Chairman Kang Jae-sup reiterated he would resign both from the party chairmanship and the National Assembly unless his compromise proposal on primary rules is accepted by May 15, the two leading presidential contenders of the GNP, former Seoul Mayor Lee Myung-bak and former Party Chairwoman Park Geun-hye, refused to budge on the matter on Sunday.

Thus, a decision on whether to pass the compromise proposal at the National Standing Committee on May 15, a deadline set by Kang, is expected to be a watershed for this intra-party feud.

When asked if he was considering a concession or proposing revised rules, Lee, who arrived at Kimpo Airport on Sunday after visiting Gwangju, flatly said, “No.”

When also asked about the GNP chairman’s decision to resign as both party chairman and lawmaker if the two rivals fail to reach an agreement, Lee replied, “That’s his business.”

Lee also made it clear on Saturday while participating in a marathon in Gwangju that he would not retreat from his stance. When asked whether his camp was considering any compromise, Lee said, “No one would be foolish enough to make concessions.¡°

Park, who has cancelled her public schedule for three days and stayed at her residence, also made her position clear during a telephone conversation, saying “I’ll abide by principles and never change my position. There is nothing else to say. I believe the public will understand that rationality, normality and principles are more important than irrationality, abnormality and anarchy.”

“I will block the submission of Kang’s compromise proposal to the National Standing Committee. Once the meeting is held, I will explain the unfairness of the proposal even if it takes hours,” Rep. Kim Moo-sung, a close aide to Park, said during a press conference. “I will prevent the submission, even if it means resorting to physical force.”

Meanwhile, Kang told his chief secretary Rep. Pahk Jae-wan, “I have set the deadline on May 15 for my decision to resign. Even if the National Standing Committee meeting is delayed, I will resign as both party chairman and lawmaker on May 15.”

However, Kim Hak-won, who heads the National Standing Committee, hinted at seeking negotiations behind the scenes between the two presidential contenders without tabling the proposal on May 15. “I am discussing the issue with close aides of the two presidential hopefuls. If the two reach an agreement even after May 15, the National Standing Committee meeting can be held at any time to pass a compromise.”