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Park Geun-hye Criticizes Ruling Party Leadership

Posted May. 11, 2009 03:04,   


“Think about the argument that figures belonging to the so-called pro-Park group have really stood in the way of what the ruling party has been doing. Some say the party has performed poorly and suffered the by-election defeat because of the pro-Park group. Do such arguments make sense?”

Former ruling Grand National Party Chairwoman Park Geun-hye said last Saturday to reporters in a San Francisco restaurant.

Asked by reporters on her stance on party unity, Park openly expressed displeasure over the question, saying, “What do you mean by intra-party conflict? What unity does the party need?”

Park apparently lashed out directly at the pro-Lee Myung-bak faction, which seeks to resolve escalating factional strife in the aftermath of the by-election defeat late last month, according to experts.

"When I was party leader, a mainstream group and a non-mainstream group existed. Portraying them as if they`re always at odds with each other is misleading,” Park said.

She showed strong displeasure over the ruling party mentioning the conflict between the pro-Park and pro-Lee factions and non-cooperation of the pro-Park group as the reason for the defeat.

Park seemed to take offense at the party`s implication that she was responsible for the by-election defeat, saying she was not the person who created the conflict.

On the cause of the by-election defeat, Park mentioned measures presented by the party`s special committee for party renewal, saying, “I already implemented such measures when I was party leader. The fact that they’ve been presented again means in a nutshell that they haven`t been honored.”

Her comment indicated her belief that the party leadership was responsible for the defeat and was in line with her previous criticism by saying, “A well-functioning party can win public support.”

Park said so when she opposed key supporter Kim Moo-sung’s appointment as party floor leader.

Calling the Grand National Party is a “public party,” Park said, “A floor leader should be chosen according to the party’s constitution and regulations. Otherwise, it is not a public party.”

On if she will hold talks with party chairman Park Hee-tae upon returning to Seoul, Park Geun-hye said, “If Chairman Park wants to meet me, I have no reason not to.”

She also reiterated her opposition to Kim’s appointment and an intra-party election for floor leader. “I have nothing to add because I’ve already expressed my opinion,” she said.

This indicates that fundamental problems will remain unresolved even if the posts of party floor leader and chief policymaker go to the pro-Park faction, experts said.

Park’s growing strength was reaffirmed with the dispute over the party’s attempt to appoint Kim floor leader. When hearing of the attempt in the United States, an official accompanying Park quoted her as sarcastically saying, “Why is domestic politics all the same? Indeed, there has been no difference.”

Park told reporters accompanying her Saturday, “The best value that principles create is trust. If something is trustworthy, it costs nothing. But without trust, neither policies nor words are credible, incurring a lot of cost.”

At a meeting with ethnic Koreans at the San Francisco City Hall Friday, Chang Yong-hee, Park’s high school alumnae, described an episode about Park’s commitment to principles.

“In Korean-language class, a teacher checked our homework once or twice in the beginning but never afterwards. But one day, the teacher abruptly checked homework. Of 30 classmates, only Park did her homework,” Chang said.