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[Editorial] Musty Politics of Lee and Park

Posted July. 12, 2007 03:28,   


Political disputes over GNP presidential frontrunner Lee Myung-bak’s “asset verification” and complaint filing are rising. Lee’s camp yesterday decided to persuade Kim Jae-jeong, Lee’s brother-in-law, to withdraw the complaint he filed, claiming that his reputation was damaged. But Mr. Kim did not accept it, saying, “The truth has to be disclosed.” The GNP cannot do anything about his decision because Kim is not a party member. But in the process, the stance of Lee’s camp and the GNP was revealed, and it is somewhat pathetic.

Chairperson Park Hee-tae of the Election Polling Committee of Lee’s party said, “Our committee has to accept our party’s order to withdraw the complaint because the committee belongs to the GNP. Even though there is strong opposition to the withdrawal, we should take the high road.” As a member of a political party, Chairperson Park’s decision is sensible and rational. You don’t have to think of the similar incident in the run-up to the 2002 presidential election to judge this recent incident. A party that invites the prosecution to verify the party’s candidate cannot be considered a well-functioning party.

Nevertheless, the complaint was filed and a political comedy drama is arising over whether to withdraw or not. More disappointing is the response of candidate Lee’s camp. The camp reportedly has not consulted with the GNP leadership even though the current situation has worsened everyday; it may lead to prosecutor fingerprints all over the presidential election not to mention party primaries. It is because Lee’s camp was preoccupied with electoral politics while neglecting its party, a true entity for political power.

The same is true for Lee’s rival, Park Geun-hye’s camp. Initially, the camp seemed to agree with the party’s decision, but then it changed its view to “opposition to the withdrawal.” And then yesterday, when Lee’s camp was determined to “recommend Kim to drop the case,” Park’s camp said, “It reminds us of an old saying, ‘A good lawyer is a bad neighbor.’” This is rhetoric signaling that Park’s camp has flipped again to support the withdrawal. It smells like musty electoral politics with political calculations.

What the two candidates have to do now is to revamp their own camps that have grown too large and instigated primary related irregularities. They also have to cooperate to the utmost extent to the GNP’s verification hearing scheduled for July 19. If the hearing goes well, the rest of the process will go easier on them, even if the prosecution happens to have an ulterior motive; then let the public take care of the rest.