A committee to pursue innovation and bi-partisan integration – with the tentatively translated name of the “innovation and integration committee (IIC)” – was launched on Wednesday by the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and a new conservative party. The IIC declared its commitment to pursue integration across the centers and the conservatives. Former lawmaker Park Hyung-jun will head the committee while the LKP and the new conservative party agreed on the composition of the committee. This is the beginning of their attempt to bring together the broad conservative circles, including the LKP and the new party.
The IIC set forth “innovation and integration” as the principles for both the centers and the conservatives, adding that it will purse the integration of all forces against the current South Korean administration by President Moon Jae-in based on the contemporary values of freedom and fairness. The main opposition party seemed only lethargic in response to the ruling party working with four minor opposition parties to forcefully pass the Public Official Election Act, which provides the rules of elections, and the High-ranking Officials’ Corruption Investigation Agency Act by forming a “4+1” consultative body across the ruling side. Under such a circumstance, the opposition side’s integration is being called to uphold the democratic principles of checks and balances. It should be avoided to damage such a significant cause by fixating on minor differences.
An agreement among the members of the IIC stated that its members should “not make an issue of the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye during the upcoming elections.” Clashing opinions about former President Geun-hye’s impeachment have driven the division and conflicts in the conservative. At the moment, a united conservative force to compete with the Moon Jae-in administration leading the political circles alone cannot be found. Being stuck in the past impeachments, contributions, and faults will only cause the conservative’s division to be even more hardened and the path of integration to be more distant. Integration by working together is what’s in demand these days.
However, the launch of the IIC is only a first step toward discussions to integrate the center and the conservative. Once discussions start in full force, it is likely that the members of the two parties may not see eye-to-eye on the composition of the committee or nomination shares for an upcoming general election. What’s more, even if the ICC achieves an agreement, discussions, the LKP and the new conservative party may put the brakes on. In the case of the amplification of such tensions, the committee won’t be able to avoid the people’s criticism for focusing on the interests of each side, rather than the cause for its foundation. South Korean citizens will keep an eye on the committee’s sincerity.