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NPAD leader to visit Gwangju amid rumors of party split

Posted May. 04, 2015 07:21,   


Moon Jae-in, chairman of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, will visit Gwangju in a bid to regain "public support in the Jeolla provinces," which turned negative toward his party at the April 29 re-elections and by-elections. As the rumors of "separation of his party" are escalating after the election of independent Chun Jung-bae in Gwangju in the latest elections and lingering controversy over his possible resignation, he apparently judged that he needs to stabilize the party sooner rather than later.

Moon will take a tour to senior citizens’ halls and community centers in Gwangju on Monday and listen to sentiment among elderly voters there. He will reportedly announce the reason his party lost in all constituencies in the latest elections and his commitment to reform the party. “Moon visited Gwangju seven times ahead of the elections and if he stops visiting because the elections are over, public sentiment in Gwangju will become more negative,” a party source said on Sunday.

Gwangju had been the opposition party’s home turf. He focused his efforts on election campaigns in the region among the four constituencies in the April 29 elections, but suffered humiliating defeat there. Despite this, Moon chose to visit Gwangju again. Voter sentiment in the Jeolla provinces is hardly everything for the main opposition party, but Moon should have realized that his party cannot win elections without support in the region. Moon also needs to win voter support in the Jeolla provinces in his bid to seek victory in the next presidential elections.

Moon should also address accusation of Jeolla bashing, in which the former Roh Moo-hyun administration allegedly isolated and neglected people from Jeolla in appointment of key posts. In the latest elections, the "accusation of Jeolla bashing" surfaced among voters in Gwangju again.

Party insiders say that Moon’s half-day visit to Gwangju will be hardly enough to enable the party to regain public trust in the Jeolla provinces. “It will take time for the party to dispel deep-rooted distrust in the pro-Roh Moo-hyun faction including Moon,” a second-term lawmaker from the region told the Dong-A Ilbo. “It is ill-advised judgment if he believes he can recover public trust in his party in the region through a showy visit.”

Meanwhile, Moon met with leaders of his party’s strategic public relations team on Thursday last week, the day after the elections, and asked them to analyze the reason public sentiment in Jeolla turned negative toward the party. Additionally, the team is reportedly considering a measure to form a new organization that will spearhead the party’s reform.