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[Editorial] Shame on Three GNP Politicians

Posted October. 31, 2007 03:43,   


Internal conflicts within the Grand National Party seem to be getting worse. To the dismay of its supporters, the party is being torn apart by the selfish behavior of the party’s three key figures: former GNP chairman Lee Hoi-chang, who suffered a loss in two rounds of the presidential elections, party councilor Seo Cheong-won, who served as chief campaigner for Lee Hoi-chang in the 2002 presidential election and backed former chairwoman Park Geun-hye in the party primary this time around, and supreme leader Lee Jae-oh who is considered to be presidential candidate Lee Myung-bak’s closest aide.

Supreme leader Lee Jae-oh’s arrogance cannot be accepted any longer. In a recent newspaper interview, he threatened his fellow party members by saying, “I will not tolerate members within the party who still refuse to recognize Lee Myung-bak as our presidential candidate.” How can he make intimidating remarks targeting his fellow politicians in the run up to the presidential election? It is somewhat understandable that some members protested, armed with a “do-it-if-you-dare” attitude. Nevertheless, he even banged the table at the request of Chairman Kang Jae-seop for self-control, and cried that the primary was already over.

Supporting a legally elected presidential candidate is the duty of every party member, but the GNP is not a one-man party for presidential contender Lee Myung-bak. One cannot force people to support him, unlike past candidates with imperial status. What Lee and his aides should do is to do their job and win the hearts of party members. However, Lee Jae-oh is only causing more hatred and conflict.

Party councilor Seo Cheong-won’s mountain climbing, accompanied by a whopping 4,000 people, also runs counter to political morals. Although he said its nature is personal, the group gave its backing to former chairwoman Park during the primary. If he led the group in order to take care of politicians under his wing, taking next year’s general elections into account, it could not get any uglier.

Seo was at the center of the illegal political fund scandal that has long haunted the GNP. A working member recently professed his huge disappointment, saying, “I felt betrayed by former chairman Lee Hoi-chang and then representative Seo Cheong-won, who had tens of billions of Korean won on the floor when we were desperate for even a single won in the next room.” Apparently, this confession did not make Seo shameful at all.

Meanwhile, former party chairman Lee is allegedly thinking over a run for the presidency, which would be his third try. As if mulling over a come back, Lee said, “That was then and now is now.” Does such an opportunistic attitude constitute the “beautiful principles” he stressed in his book? The claim for “preparation” to achieve a regime change in case of Lee Myung-bak’s resignation sounds outrageous. Only daydreamers would make such an argument.