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[Editorial] Grand National Party Primary Race Overheating

[Editorial] Grand National Party Primary Race Overheating

Posted July. 24, 2007 03:02,   


The primary election committee of the Grand National Party decided yesterday to discontinue scheduled joint speech sessions of the party’s primary candidates. The move came after a joint session held in Jeju two days ago ended in a mess because of excessive competition between Lee Myung-bak’s and Park Geun-hye’s camps. In an effort to prevent overheated competition and pandemonium, the committee decided to demand a written oath from the two camps in question and a specific written plan from the party leadership. It plans to make a final decision on whether to resume joint speech sessions after getting the documents. It seems that the hopes for a “beautiful primary” have been dashed.

In short, the speech in Jeju was messy. As it was the first joint speech session after the primary race began, many people expected it to be festive. However, supporters of Lee and Park got into a scuffle, trading swearwords and kicks to occupy “good spots,” which refers to central seats in the front rows just opposite the podium. That made for an ugly scene. The audience was banned from bringing in election campaign equipment, including placards and picket signs, which could have made the atmosphere very competitive. However, the supporters did bring such equipment in.

Indeed, it would have been better not to have held the speech session at all. An intense atmosphere was expected to some degree, given the war of nerves and tug of war that the two camps have displayed so far. But they simply went too far. The supporters of the two camps demonstrated outright hostility toward each other. It made one wonder if they really share the same ideology and party affiliation. They seemed to ignore the public.

It appears that the two election camps think winning the primary is the same as winning the presidential election, and that both are forgetting the cause behind taking presidential office. Otherwise, they would not have fought each other so hard as if they would never meet again after the primary. I wonder if they can fight this hard when they confront the ruling camp in the presidential election. In the current situation, it would be hard for the loser of the primary to help the winner to win the presidential election.

Only “disciplined competition” can be applauded. Self-control and discipline, which come from a law-abiding spirit and consideration for others, are a prerequisite of democracy and mature political culture. It is time for the two candidates and their election camps to remind themselves of the phrase: “When you lose, you win.”