The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and the minor New Conservative Party Monday began talks to unite forces 93 days ahead of the April 15 general elections. It has been four days since the two parties established a committee for innovation and unity. The New Conservative Party expressed its willingness to formally launch discussions for unity after the LKP said it would put six core principles of conservatism presented by the committee on the official agenda of the party’s Supreme Council.
Under the principle of innovation and integration, the committee initially called for the integration of all conservative groups that are against the Moon Jae-in administration. The key to the integration was the principle that the impeachment of former President Park Geun-hye should not be an obstacle in winning the general elections. The different idea about and approach to the impeachment of Park was what has triggered the friction within the conservative bloc. The LKP accepted the New Conservative Party’s demand to put the impeachment of Park Geun-hye behind by agreeing to the six principles set forth by the new party.
To be sure, there still are voices against the alliance within the New Conservative Party and it is not a true integration of the conservative bloc since it is only a merger between the two conservative parties. But integration of the conservatives is an urgent issue that cannot be delayed any longer, given no time to spare in order to protect a liberal democracy and market economy and win the general elections to make it happen. The conservative parties would be busy arguing and eventually ruin themselves once the integration is delayed after Lunar New Year holiday, when campaign for general elections will begin.
Integration of the conservative bloc is also a way to overcome the frustration caused by the closed-door politics between the ruling party and minor opposition parties through their “4+1” consultative body. It is also true that the conservatives failed to meet the principle of check and balance by being caught up by the impeachment issue. The conservative bloc has the responsibility to break away from the past and present visions for a new future. To do so, they should put the impeachment or general elections behind and rebuild the foundation for conservatism for the great cause of democracy. The public will support the conservatives only when they end conflict and enmity by proving their capability of solving problems through compromise and negotiation so that they can embrace young generations. The conservatives have a few months to do so.