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Will Ahn’s new politics succeed this time?

Posted December. 28, 2015 13:57,   


Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo, who recently left the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, announced the “philosophy of new politics” in relation to his creation of a new party on Sunday. “We cannot address the problems of 2016 with the paradigm of the dictatorship for development in the 1970s and the democratic movement of the 1980s,” he said. “The new party will focus on reasonable reform instead of old liberalism and old conservatism.” For further details, he mentioned fair growth, the growth of a social economy, education reform, addressing the income gap, strong national security and flexible inter-Korean relationship and diplomacy.

Many Koreans are sick of the conflicts between the main and opposition parties and particularly, the pattern of the NPAD party that sticks to an old ideology for politics as if it fights against the authoritarian regime in the 1980s. Ahn’s proposal – changing politics – may sound like a silver lining to the general public.

Some say that Ahn has an ambitious plan as he targets the 2017 presidential election beyond general elections in April next year with the creation of a new party. In fact, Ahn had failed in founding a new party. It remains to be seen whether he can create a party despite the pressure from the supporters of the opposition party who claim that the new party could cause division in the opposition camp only to benefit the ruling Saenuri Party in the Seoul metropolitan area. It is not certain whether middle-way voters would really vote for him in the elections.

The success of Ahn’s new party depends on people. He says he will find good people who are recognized by those around them, not considering if they are public figures or have a special track record. However, the party would not have strong presence without attracting existing politicians. If Ahn`s party has many old figures, it cannot give an impression that it is new. Neither is it easy to find new people. Many of those who agreed with Ahn have left him. Either way, it is tough for a third reform-oriented central party to take root.

The philosophy of Ahn’s new politics is in line with his vision, which he announced twice before. He once served as a co-chair of the main opposition party, but voters know little about what he did for new politics while serving as lawmaker and co-chair. Both ruling and opposition parties have been at loggerheads each other over a series of bills – an economic stimulus bill, a labor reform bill and an anti-terrorism bill. Instead of talking good things about new politics, he needs to show what he thinks about these disputed issues. Then, people will be able to get a grasp of what his new politics is.