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Conflicts in Democratic Party subside for now

Posted May. 30, 2022 08:06,   

Updated May. 30, 2022 08:06


The Democratic Party of Korea’s internal troubles regarding the head of the joint emergency planning committee Park Ji-hyun’s public appeal for voluntary retirement by those who attended universities in the 1980s or were born in the 1960s were temporarily resolved on Saturday after three days. Park and Rep. Yun Ho-jung, the head of the joint emergency planning committee, made peace but some members of the party expect bigger chaos later depending on the results of local elections.

The tension in the party got worse as Park announced on Friday that Yoon refused a joint campaign statement that contained five reform plans, such as putting an end to fandom politics. The Democratic Party held a meeting for the joint emergency planning committee on Saturday night to address the problem.

“All members of the joint emergency planning committee agreed that we are deeply apologetic for having concerned South Korean people, the members of the Democratic Party, and the candidates,” the party’s chief spokesperson Koh Yong-jin said at 10 p.m. on Saturday after the meeting. “We have put an end to several issues today.” While Park, Yun, and the general chair of the election preparatory committee Lee Jae-myung requested a three-way discussion but a committee meeting was held instead.

The joint emergency planning committee of the Democratic Party decided to implement five reform plans proposed by Park, which include completing political replacement for a younger party and a zero-tolerance policy for crimes, such as sexual violence, within the party. They are in line with Park’s recent request, such as taking disciplinary actions for Choi Kang-wook and voluntary retirement by those who attended universities in the 1980s or were born in the 1960s. “We agreed to set up democratic processes and structure after the election,” Koh said, which means the committee decided to respect Park’s determination for reform and at the same time pushed the timing to do so to find a middle ground.

While the conflicts have been resolved for now, conflicts within the party may be worse depending on the results of local election as the reform plans may be blamed for the results. It is inevitable that the tension accumulated over the elections will come out as there is also a party convention in August, which will determine the party presidency for two years. “Park revealed her political ambition to lead the party with innovation and generational shift after local elections,” a reelected member of the opposition party said. “Right now, Park’s demands are granted as the local elections are more urgent. However, it would inevitably cause issues after the elections.”

Hoon-Sang Park tigermask@donga.com