Go to contents

Tensions rise between rival factions in ruling party

Posted October. 01, 2015 07:24,   


After the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae sent an "open warning" to the ruling Saenuri Party`s chief Kim Moo-sung on Wednesday over a deal with the main opposition party on how to nominate candidates for next year`s general elections, attention is drawn to whether the clash over nomination will cost him his job.

The situation is not much different from the Cheong Wa Dae-Saenuri clash in June and July, when the ruling party`s floor leader Yoo Seung-min was forced to resign from the post. The course of the clash, in which the ruling party`s pro-Park faction protests a bipartisan agreement before the president`s office intervenes in favor of the faction, is so similar as to invoke a sense of déjà vu. Just as in Yoo Seung-min`s case, the ruling party and Cheong Wa Dae have wide differences over the political situation. At that time, Yoo claimed that a revision proposal for the National Assembly Act did not infringe upon the administration`s administrative legislation right. However, President Park vetoed the bill, arguing that it would likely be unconstitutional because it undermined the principle of the separation of powers.

Regarding the bipartisan agreement to nominate candidate by taking into account opinion polls through mobile phones using "secured" mobile phone numbers, Kim stressed that the method is an altered form of open primaries. However, Cheong Wa Dae rejected the plan, arguing that the nomination system would be nothing more than selecting candidate through an opinion poll.

The president also took issue with the procedure and process of bipartisan negotiations. At the time of the National Assembly Act revision bill, she criticized the parties for rushing the process without having sufficient discussions. Her office and faction are again taking issue with the fact that the heads of the ruling and main opposition parties negotiated the nomination system while the president was on an overseas trip.

The dominant view in the political circles is that the latest clash is the beginning of a "big bang" between Park and Kim, as the president wants to influence the Saenuri Party`s candidate nomination in next year`s parliamentary elections, while the ruling party chief attempts to prevent Cheong Wa Dae`s intervention. In the ruling camp, there have been rumors about a "November crisis," as Park is said to have planned to reorganize the Saenuri Party since she forced Yoo to step down.

Nevertheless, it does not seem likely that Kim will be forced out immediately, as the division of the ruling camp ahead of the April 2016 elections would be burdensome to both the pro-Park faction and Kim. Once the ruling party starts to form a body that would determine a nomination method, however, each side will likely compete in expanding its influence over the nomination process. In other words, more clashes are inevitable. Tensions are rising between the two factions, as Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan, a key member of the pro-Park group, is set to return to the party near the end of this year.