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More Opposed to Return of Park’s Loyalists En Masse to GNP

More Opposed to Return of Park’s Loyalists En Masse to GNP

Posted May. 14, 2008 08:36,   


The results of a Tuesday Dong-A Ilbo telephone survey held with 22 out of 35 pro-Park lawmakers-elect of the Grand National Party (GNP) showed that the majority of those surveyed are opposed to former Chairwoman Park Geun-hye’s demand for allowing her defected confidantes to return to the party.

Despite Park’s efforts to persuade President Lee Myung-bak to help permit pro-Park defectors to rejoin the GNP on Saturday at Cheong Wa Dae, only 13 respondents in the Dong-A survey were in favor of “allowing only some of the defectors to return to the GNP.”

Twenty of those surveyed said that Park should not bolt from the party if her demand is not met, while three of them answered that they would support Park regardless of her future course of action.

○ Majority of GNP pro-Park figures in favor of screening defectors

The lawmakers-elect claiming that only a selected few belonging to the Pro-Park Geun-hye Alliance (PPA) or independent lawmakers-elect should be allowed to rejoin the GNP are Huh Tae-yeol, Kim Seong-jo, Suh Byung-soo, Jeong Kab-yoon, Ahn Hong-joon, Chin Young, Lee Hye-hoon, Lee Ke-jin, Hwang Jin-ha, Song Kwang-ho, Son Beom-gyu and Koo Sang-chan.

Joo Sung-young said, “Only those disqualified in the GNP nomination should be eligible for a possible return to the party.” He added, “Since Yang Jeong-rye and Kim Noh-sik, lawmakers-elect of the PPA, have never been members of the GNP, their joining the party should be dealt with as a matter of taking in new party members (rather than as one of allowing defectors to rejoin the party).”

Koo Sang-chan commented, “Among PPA lawmakers-elect under prosecutors’ investigation, those who are found guilty should not be allowed to return to the party. It is an undesirable situation for both the party and former Chairwoman Park.”

Lee Ke-jin also argued that only those who were unable to run in the last general elections due to being Park’s confidants should be allowed to rejoin the party. “If we allow everyone, including those pro-Park impostors, the party will be divided into factions.”

Suh Byung-soo and Song Kwang-ho said that the GNP should permit pro-Park independent lawmakers to return to the party, but that the matter of accepting PPA lawmakers should be further discussed in the future.

Meanwhile, eight GNP lawmakers-elect agreed to the idea of allowing all defectors to restore their party membership, Choi Kyung-hwan, Yoo Seong-min, Suh Sang-kee, Lee Jung-hyun, Kim Tae-won, Kim Sung-soo, Yoon Sang-hyun and Lee Jong-hyuk.

Yoo Seong-min, Lee Jung-hyun and Yoon Sang-hyun said that the GNP should allow all defectors to return to the party and those convicted of irregularities should be handled in accordance with party regulations.

Suh Sang-kee and Lee Jong-hyuk also stated, “All defectors should be allowed to rejoin the party as it is difficult to solve this twisted problem by saying who is qualified to return to the party and who is not.”

○ “Park should not leave the GNP”

Twenty of the 22 respondents agreed that Park should not withdraw from the party even if her demand is not accepted. One respondent said, “It is a matter that Park should decide,” and another said, “I’m not sure.”

Song Kwang-ho, who is opposed to Park’s defection, said, “It would be understandable if she decides to bolt from the party due to disagreements over a matter concerning national interest. However, the defector issue lacks sufficient justification for her withdrawal.”

Suh Sang-kee also advised Park not to take extreme measures, saying that she should put her priority on the people and their livelihood.

Lee Ke-jin stated that the defector issue lacks justification for Park’s withdrawal, which would only result in shackling her political career.

Hwang Jin-ha commented that though he is willing to make efforts to help her demand be met, Park should stay in the GNP regardless of the outcome. “Park, who has rescued and revitalized the GNP, should protect the party,” said Hwang.

When asked if they will bolt from the GNP along with Park if she leaves the party, three respondents said, “Yes, no matter what”; four answered, “No, I will not”; three replied, “I will persuade her to change her mind”; five responded, “I cannot give my answer based on assumption”; three said, “I will have to think about it”; and four replied, “It is hard to answer.”

○ Majority opposed to Park’s seeking party leadership

When asked if Park should run for party leadership in the upcoming convention in July, 17 of the surveyed were against it. Only four were in favor and one respondent said, “It is a matter that Park should decide.”

Kim Seong-jo said, “Once she becomes a party chairman who has to make decisions in person, she will likely face conflicts with interest groups within the party. She should not run in the convention for both the party and herself.”

Lee Ke-jin argued that Park will not run in the convention in a bid to resolve the defector issue. Lee also said that Park should concentrate on assisting state affairs in the first few years of the new administration.

“If Park becomes the party chairwoman, she will likely pit the government against many issues. It is not desirable for the administrative management of the nation and Park has her sights set on the next presidential election,” a lawmaker-elect said.

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