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Ruling Party Members Urge Holding Nat`l Convention Earlier

Ruling Party Members Urge Holding Nat`l Convention Earlier

Posted May. 11, 2009 03:04,   


Members of the ruling Grand National Party say the party should hold its national convention this year instead of July next year.

This comes amid the party`s failed attempt to renew itself by appointing Kim Moo-sung, a key supporter of former party chairwoman Park Geun-hye, as floor leader.

The members cited the need to hurriedly reshuffle the party leadership to better prepare for the by-elections in October and local elections next year.

Chung Mong-joon, a member of the party`s decision-making supreme council, opposed the idea at a news conference at party headquarters in Seoul`s Yeouido district yesterday.

“The idea deserves no consideration,” he said, adding, “A national convention like last year`s is meaningless. If (the convention) is held, former party chairwoman Park Geun-hye should attend.”

On the schedule for the convention, Chung said, “Before the regular parliamentary session in September is good, but given mention of the time after the October by-elections, fine-tuning will be necessary.”

The majority of party members who support reform favor holding the convention early. Lawmakers Nam Kyung-pil, Won Hee-ryong, and Choung Byoung-gug got together Saturday and reportedly reached a consensus over the plan.

Won, who was unofficially appointed to chair the party’s renewal committee, said, “Instead of holding the convention without precondition, we should be open to all possibilities and seek solutions.”

Kim Sung-sik, co-secretary of Minbon 21, a gathering of first-time party lawmakers, stressed the necessity of holding the convention early. “If political leaders are unable to come up with solutions, party renewal must be carried out based on the opinions and will of all party members.”

The party leadership and the presidential office, however, are pessimistic about holding the convention this year. An aide to party chairman Park Hee-tae said, “No one cuts a finger because of a long fingernail.”

A Cheong Wa Dae official warned that holding the convention amid escalating factional strife will bring further conflict.

The group loyal to former chairwoman Park has said nothing about holding the convention this year, but said the time is not ripe. Their cautious stance is apparently to prevent speculation that Park’s opposition to Kim Moo-sung`s appointment as floor leader is a gambit to seize party hegemony.

The course of the party`s renewal plan, including the proposed holding of the convention this year, is expected to be set after Park returns from the United States today.