Go to contents

Ruling Party Debates `Change` vs. `Adoption` on Sejong City

Ruling Party Debates `Change` vs. `Adoption` on Sejong City

Posted February. 17, 2010 06:48,   


The pro-President Lee Myung-bak faction of the ruling Grand National Party says the party’s decision on the revised Sejong City bill reflects a new party platform, not a change.

The faction loyal to former party chief Park Geun-hye, however, says this action makes no sense.

Ruling party lawmaker Jin Soo-hee, director of the party’s think tank Yeouido Institute, told The Dong-A Ilbo over the phone, “If we discuss the revised bill on Sejong City at a general assembly of the National Assembly, this should be seen as the process of adopting a new party platform, not a change.”

“When then party leader Park Geun-hye in February 2005 came up with an agreement between the ruling and opposition parties on the division of the capital, she asked her party’s lawmakers about the adoption of a new party platform.”

Section 1 of Article 72 of the ruling party’s constitution says, “The passage of a bill at a party general meeting requires a majority of members present and their majority approval.” If a new party platform is adopted, this section applies.

Section 3 of Article 72 says, “If the party changes its official platform, approval by two-thirds of members is required.” If discussion on the revised bill is tantamount to a change of the party platform, it requires approval from 113 of the party’s 169 lawmakers.

If the move is considered the adoption of a new party platform, approval will require “yes” votes from 43 lawmakers from 85 attending, something that is seen as easy given the number of pro-Lee lawmakers.

The adoption of a new party platform is based on the notion that the revised bill is a new way of regional development completely different from the original.

A source from the pro-Lee faction said, “The revised bill cancels the relocation of government agencies and makes Sejong City an economic city centered on education and science, not a multifunctional administrative city. So this should be seen not as a partial change to the party platform but as the creation of a new party platform.”

Others say Park set a new party platform on Sejong City in February 2005, with only 46 voting “yes” among 120 members attending a general meeting of the party.

In response, Park’s supporters claim that since the party leadership including the pro-Lee faction has stressed that the party platform is the original Sejong City plan several times, the revised bill is possible only by changing the party platform.

On the February 2005 general meeting, a pro-Park lawmaker said, “There was no difference between the adoption of and change to the party platform in the party’s constitution back then. In addition, we were forced to change the party platform because of the Constitutional Court’s ruling against the relocation of the capital. Things are different now.”

The rule on a change to the party platform was added when the party’s reform committee streamlined its constitution in 2005. Before then, either changing or adopting the party platform was possible with a majority vote with a majority attendance.

Even voices from the pro-Lee faction say redefinition of the party’s decision-making process is overdue. They say the top priority should be securing the required two-thirds votes needed for approval.

Yet those who claim the adoption of the party platform have apparently made room for reinterpretation even if the revised bill is not recognized as the party platform by questioning the process.

A core member of the pro-Lee faction said, “Since we were so obsessed with reinterpretation, we paid little attention to the process. We were hesitant to do so because it could’ve signaled that we might not have been able to secure enough votes if the issue was raised beforehand.”

koh@donga.com kimkihy@donga.com