It has been five days since the national convention of the main opposition People Power Party ended, but the political impact of the party leader in his 30s with no experience as a lawmaker is still spreading. It seems that the ruling Democratic Party of Korea is failing to understand the nature of the “Lee Jun-seok phenomenon.” Ruling party members seem to be waiting for a moment where he shows his limitations, saying that he is only trying to create an image by riding the city bike.
The ruling party is feeling a sense of crisis and making gestures for those in their 20s and 30s such as giving young supreme council members a stronger right to speak. “Competitions in reforming is inevitable. Our party cannot lose in that competition,” said supreme council member Lee Dong-hak, who is 39 years old. But that is all they did. There is no introspection on why there was a blaze of attention toward selecting a leader of the conservative party among those in their 20s and 30s and how much citizens want to break down the old politics. The Mincho, a group of newly elected lawmakers, also discussed Tuesday whether to delay the nomination race for presidential candidates as the main agenda.
If this continues, the future of the ruling party will be bleak. The Lee Jun-seok phenomenon is a strong warning of citizens who are tired of old politics and double standards. They should not take it as a strategic choice of the conservative party to turn over the political power. It is a shame that they are still arguing about the timing and method of nomination, mired in discussions such as “Let’s adopt a new election method and delay the nomination race” or “Do we really want to break the rule again?”
The ruling party has failed at making their crushing loss in the April 7 by-elections a chance for introspection and reform. Newly elected lawmakers in their 30s who wanted to “cross the river of former Justice Minister Cho Guk” are getting cold feet after being cornered as “five enemies.” The meeting between President Moon Jae-in and 68 newly elected lawmakers ended after an exchange of well-wishes and photoshoots for about an hour. An amendment of the comprehensive real estate holding tax is in a disordered status due to the opposition of hard-liners in the party who are against “reducing taxes for the rich.”
There are self-deprecating voices within the party that it is swayed by OK boomers with vested rights and rigid supporters. It was assessed as an “incapable middle-aged man with double-standards” in a survey conducted within the ruling party. There is no one to drive bigger innovation to stand against the reform competition started by the People Power Party. No one in the 86 group steps up to take the responsibility and retire after the loss in the by-elections or the party convention of the conservative party. They are anxious to reserve their vested rights. The 12 lawmakers who are suspected to have engaged in illegal real estate trading were advised to leave the party, but only one did so. “I will change everything except the party’s name,” said party chairman Song Young-gil. Nothing seems to have changed, but the ruling party say they will hold the reins of government again.