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No hope for NPAD without understanding the cause of election defeats

No hope for NPAD without understanding the cause of election defeats

Posted May. 01, 2015 07:12,   


Parliamentary by-elections are often called the "grave of the ruling party" because opposition parties have advantages over the ruling party. It is probably because voters tend to check the government. During the Roh Moo-hyun administration, his party lost all of the six by-elections in 22 districts. The saying also held true to a certain extent during the Kim Dae-jung and Lee Myung-bak administrations. However, the situation is totally different under the current administration. Her party had a victory in all of the four by-elections, winning in 18 districts out of 22. The main opposition party had always urged voters to make a judgment against the ruling party, only to face its own judgment and lose the polls.

Moon Jae-in, the leader of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), expressed his thought on the total defeat in the April 29 by-elections. "I really regret that I have failed to speak for the people who are angered by the Park Geun-hye administration`s economic policy failures, personnel affairs failures and corruption," he said. It seems that he has not realized the true cause of his humiliating defeat. The latest by-elections have confirmed that although voters are disappointed by the current administration`s incompetence and corruption, they refuse to recognize Moon`s party as an alternative. Nevertheless, his triumphant attitude is incomparable to that of his predecessors, Kim Han-gill and Ahn Cheol-soo, who resigned after losing the July 30, 2014 by-elections by a score of 11 to 4.

What the voters really want for the main opposition party to be is not a fighter but a competent, alternative party. They are worried about jobs, marriages, childcare, housing and retirement. If Moon truly understands the public sentiment, he should have presented concrete solutions to such concerns. When the Park administration was reeling from a bribery scandal, however, he abandoned his economy-first slogans and resorted to the hackneyed tactics of calling for a "judgment" against the government. It was a pathetic misreading of the public sentiment.

The public is suspicious about whether the NPAD is capable of running the government and can be entrusted with state affairs. Has the party not been dragging, rather than cooperating in, the government`s economic revival policies and reform measures by taking advantage of a law that bans the majority ruling party from unilaterally pushing for its agendas. A case in point is that the NPAD is taking the issue of reforming the pension system for government employees in the opposite direction that the public wants. In addition, Moon failed to display his leadership of unity during the nomination process for the by-elections.

It seems that Moon is seeing his party and the world through the eyes of his faction in the party, rather than the people`s eyes. There will be no hope for the NPAD until he correctly reads the public sentiment with a humble attitude.