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Pres. Lee Urges End to Intra-Ruling Party Feud

Posted February. 13, 2010 08:54,   


President Lee Myung-bak yesterday offered to quell a feud with a leading member of the ruling Grand National Party.

“It’s no good to continue an intra-party dispute through Seollal (Lunar New Year). It doesn’t look good to the public for the party to engage in an internal feud, and I hope we stop,” he said in a breakfast meeting with the party’s leaders and new senior staff at the presidential office.

On former party chairwoman Park Geun-hye’s “in-house robber” made the same day, the president said, “I hope we stop dispute over the issue, as (Park) made the comment due to a misunderstanding. Let’s stop here and welcome the (Lunar) New Year.”

Attention is focusing on whether the dispute will come to an end in the wake of the president’s offer. In a briefing at the North Chungcheong Provincial Office Tuesday, he said, “We are competing with the world. We have no time or energy to struggle against ourselves,” mentioning the “robber” theory.

Park then implied President Lee to an “in-house robber,” to which the presidential office urged her to apologize for her comment in an escalating dispute.

On the Sejong City project, President Lee said, “I hope the party takes center stage and concludes the issue,” adding, “Though individuals have differing views, they should follow the party’s decided platform as part of democracy.”

“Democracy is not a perfect system, but it is the best available at present, and the ruling party must follow this. Even if individuals have different views, they must hold discussions, and once a conclusion is reached, they must follow it.”

Rep. Lee Jung-hyun, Parks’ de facto spokesman, told The Dong-A Ilbo yesterday, “Park has no comment on the president’s suggestion to end the debate over the robber theory.”

A veteran lawmaker with the pro-Park faction said, “It is just a mishap caused by inaccurate reporting by certain media outlets, and ending the debate this way is right.”

Chances are high, however, that Park will express opposition to President Lee’s comments on Sejong City at an appropriate time. Around the time the government submits a revision bill on the project to the National Assembly, the two sides could lock horns again.

Ruling party chairman Chung Mong-joon has also suggested talks with Park in private talks with the president following a meeting with the party’s leadership. “There is no reason not to meet her. It would be nice to meet and discuss what time is convenient,” President Lee was quoted by party spokesman Cho Hae-jin as saying.

Cho added, however, “President Lee gave that answer based merely on principle.”

A presidential office source said, “We are not arranging a meeting between President Lee and former chairwoman Park at this time.”

sunshade@donga.com yongari@donga.com