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Nobody Welcomes Pro-Roh Assemblypersons

Posted August. 02, 2007 03:05,   


In the context of the integration of the ruling party circle, those assemblypersons tagged as pro-President Roh Moo-hyun are being backed further and further into a corner.

By the end of last month pro-Roh assemblypersons thought that they would automatically join the New Integrated Democratic Party for the Future (a provisional name) which would come into existence on August 5. This was because the stance of the chairperson Park Sang-cheon, who argued for the exclusion of a certain stream, was weakened when the debate began to take on the structure of “either a broad integration or a narrow integration.” Accordingly, the Uri Party internally decided to join the new party in the form of assimilation.

But Chairman Park insisted that he “would not work with a heterogeneous stream” and the new party also sought to settle the negotiation first with the Integrated Democratic Party. All this is making the situation harder for pro-Roh circles. In a TV program, the former counselor of Uri Party Jeong Dae-cheol who is currently heading the committee for the new party, said “(In order to lead the Integrated Democratic Party to take part in the new party) we might do without the pro-Roh group in the worst case.” Shaking the grounds for pro-Roh assemblymen is the fact that without the participation of the Centrist United Democratic Party in the new party, the new party would be a re-integrated party rather than a broadly integrated party.

In such a situation, the pro-Roh assemblymen are looking for their own paths to travel.

In the first place, most of the pro-Roh assemblymen are thinking of joining the new party. Many pro-Roh presidential candidates, such as the former prime ministers Lee Hae-chan and Han Myeong-sook, and assemblyman Kim Hyeok-gyu, former minister of Government Administration and Home Affairs, have already announced their intention to join the new integrated party. Former minister Kim argued that the classification of pro-Roh, non-Roh, or anti-Roh is meaningless in the course of the broad integration, saying, “Such classification would not mean anything if we fail to give birth to a new regime. Assemblyman Rhyu Si-min also called for a “one-shot integration.”

Some pro-Roh assemblymen have even chosen to abolish their posts in the Uri Party and have already dipped their toes in the waters of the new party. Assemblyman Seo Gab-won, who used to be identified as an entirely pro-Roh, withdrew from the party last month, saying, “Broad integration is the only way out.” Assemblymen Kim Hyeong-ju and Cho Gyeong-tae, who used to lead the Participant Politics Research Group – an exemplary pro-Roh body which no longer exists – also withdrew from the party.

In addition they all support different presidential candidates. Assemblyman Seo Gab-won, a supporter of former prime minister Lee Hae-chan, assemblyman Kim Hyeong-ju the former prime minister Han Myeong-sook, and assemblyman Cho Gyeong-tae, is working in the camp of the former Gyeonggi mayor Sohn Hak-gyu.

Recently, assemblyman Lee Gwang-jae who is a close 386 associate of President Roh, mentioning the participation in the new party, said, “What more am I supposed to do than follow the decisions of the party.” Assemblyman Baek Won-woo also said, “I’ll be where the party-to-party integration takes place.”

They hope that the new party and the Uri Party will come in a party-to-party merger leaving aside the Integrated Democratic Party. But their grounds are getting narrower as the new party makes efforts to persuade chairperson Park first.

yongari@donga.com tesomiom@donga.com