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New Party of Ruling Camp

Posted July. 26, 2007 03:32,   


The ruling camp formed a new party, but it is still facing numerous challenges.

The biggest challenge is the leadership of the new party, whose vision of “grand unity” is not very new. The prevailing view in the political community is that the six joint chairmen of the preparatory committee for the new party who were elected on July 24 are far from “new faces.” Three of the six were recommended by a civic group called Future Creation Solidarity and are very closely associated with the incumbent administration, even though the new party intends to keep its distance from the administration.

Kim Ho-jin, former Labor Minister, was appointed as a committee chairman of the Education Ministry after working as an education policy aide for then candidate Roh Moo-hyun in the 2000 presidential election. Kim Sang-hee was a chairman of the presidential advisory committee, while Reverend Oh Chung-il is the chairman of an NIS committee.

The other three joint chairmen, who are politicians, are no different.

Jeong Dae-cheol, former Uri Party senior advisor, served jail terms over receiving bribes, while Jeong Gyun-hwan, a former lawmaker, drove the impeachment move of President Roh Moo-hyun. Kim Han-gil, a joint chairperson of the Centrist Unified Democratic Party, has been criticized as being obsessed with power because he shifted has parties several times.

A ruling camp politician said yesterday, “It is fair to say that they are the icons of old politics.”

Under these circumstances, some expressed their dismay over the exclusion of prominent figures who have kept their distance from politics, including Seoul National University Emeritus Professor Baek Nak-cheong and former Board of Audit and Inspection Director Han Seung-hun.

Although the Future Creation Solidarity has equally shared the stake of the new party with the political community, it is unclear if it will be able to establish the new party as a nationwide organization. That is because it is not easy for civic group members to overcome the barrier of real politics.

A first-term lawmaker who broke away from the Uri Party said, “The Future Creation Solidarity will not be very powerful. How many of the 70-plus leading members who will be appointed among the civic group members would win general elections?”

Some say that the party’s claimed cause of the “party of citizens” is just an attempt to make it look different from the Uri Party.

The 16 local chapters of the new party will likely be led by joint committee chairmen. But some point out that such an organization is just to share the leading posts among those who defected from the Uri Party, the former Centrist Unified Democratic Party members, and the Solidarity for Progress and Peace.

The situation of former Uri Party Chairman Kim Geun-tae, who has effectively driven the formation of the new party, raises another question. Explaining why Kim did not participate in the launching ceremony for the preparatory committee, Kim’s camp said, “It is enough to attend the launching ceremony of the party.” However, many say that it is incomprehensible that Kim wasn’t even appointed as a joint chairman of the preparatory committee.