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Factional power struggle caused main opposition party`s woes

Factional power struggle caused main opposition party`s woes

Posted October. 03, 2014 05:06,   


Park Young-sun, the floor leader of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), stepped down from her post Thursday over the results of the negotiations over a bill aimed at determining the truth behind April`s deadly sinking of the Sewol ferry. Just before she did so, she sent an e-mail message to her party`s lawmakers, saying, "Throughout the negotiations, I was holding a bow on a rocking boat." She also claimed that there had been moves and arguments by "extremists who were willing to drain the ballast water from the boat to protect the party chairman by profession." She indicated that there were groups of people who stubbornly shook her and her party.

One of the reasons that caused the ill-fated ferry Sewol to sink was draining the ballast water to allow for more freight. Park`s remarks about draining the ballast water from the NPAD suggest that some party members attempted to protect their own interest without caring if the party sank or not. The remarks have drawn attention to who were the people or groups that drove the party to a dangerous situation or undermined her leadership. Her expression of "party chairman by profession" might refer to Chung Sye-kyun, who served as the party`s chairman three times and is seeking to serve another term. His faction locked horns with Park during the Sewol bill negotiations and the party`s attempt to appoint an outsider as the party`s leading committee.

If "party chairman by profession" meant the party leadership, the expression can be interpreted as reference to the party`s pro-Roh Moo-hyun faction led by Moon Jae-in. He shook Park`s footing by joining a hunger strike by Sewol victims` bereaved family and sending tweets stabbing the party leadership in the back. On Thursday, Moon said, "We admit the loss. We will stand by the bereaved families until the end." He should reminisce about Park`s warning, "The pain that our party is going through will not be healed easily as long as such things are repeated."

When Park was chosen as the head of the party`s "emergency measure committee," she vowed to "depart from the obsolete past" and "remove the party of its image as a fighter." She also vowed to rebuild and integrate the party. However, she stepped down from the leadership post without achieving anything. She may have been sacrificed by the party`s chronic factional feuds. Still, she cannot avoid the criticisms that she had failed to display her leadership and that she had it coming by taking the posts with an eye to taking control over the party. We are concerned that going beyond the first female floor leader`s failure, the main opposition party`s sinking could lead to a misfortune for the country.