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Kim Eun-kyung’s innovation committee ends without any innovation

Kim Eun-kyung’s innovation committee ends without any innovation

Posted August. 12, 2023 07:58,   

Updated August. 12, 2023 07:58


Kim Eun-kyung, the head of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea’s innovation committee, announced a proposal on Thursday. According to the proposal, votes from party delegates would no longer be counted in leadership elections, and instead, greater emphasis would be placed on votes from 'members with rights.' The proposal also involves imposing more nomination penalties for lawmakers with poor parliamentary performance. Within the party, there is a growing divide between pro-Lee Jae-myung and anti-Lee factions, as critics argue that the proposal favors hardline supporters of Lee, who have been advocating for a stronger presence of members with rights.

The Innovation Committee said that it aims to address the discrepancy wherein one party delegate's vote at the party convention holds the weight of 60 votes from 'members with rights.' However, this issue pertains to the party leadership election scheduled for a year later. Despite its lack of relevance to next year's general election, the urgency of addressing this matter raises questions. This has led to speculation among observers that it serves as groundwork for pro-Lee supporters attempting to secure future party dominance, backed by hardline Lee supporters. The Innovation Committee's recent alterations to the nomination rules, previously finalized by the Democratic Party in May, have further exacerbated conflicts. Lawmakers opposed to Lee criticize this move as a maneuver by unelected pro-Lee Jae-myung affiliates.

Kim's consecutive statements have also sparked disturbances. Before her derogatory comments about the elderly, she had apologized for likening first-time DP lawmakers to students whose academic performance had suffered due to Covid-19. The controversy surrounding Kim's personal life has also diminished the reputation of the Innovation Committee. As a result, the committee concluded its activities prematurely, roughly a month ahead of schedule.

The Innovation Committee, led by Kim Eun-kyung, was established on June 20 as a party reform entity, responding to a moral crisis within the Democratic Party. This crisis emerged following a bribery scandal during the party's convention and the cryptocurrency controversy involving Rep. Kim Nam-kuk. The committee was entrusted with addressing the Democratic Party's moral insensitivity, which has drawn criticism from the Korean public. The Innovation Committee’s survey of Democratic Party executives and aides revealed that 67 percent of respondents attributed the lack of popularity of DP politicians to “hypocrisy.” However, none of the proposals put forth by the Innovation Committee incorporated this concern. Consequently, criticism emerges that Kim Eun-kyung's Innovation Committee has merely discussed innovation while neglecting its core responsibility for fostering innovation.

The Democratic Party should assess the issues of the Innovation Committee's activities by rediscussing the moral and ethical reforms the committee neglected. This is not the appropriate time for the pro- and anti-Lee Jae-myung factions to become embroiled in political conflicts, discussing their gains and losses. It's understandable why the approval ratings of the Democratic Party, the main opposition party, have remained stagnant, despite the repeated failures of the government and the ruling party.