박근혜 대통령은 신년사를 통해 경제 활성화와 민생 안정을 약속했지만 정작 정치권의 앞날은 그리 순탄치 않다. 6월에 있을 지방 선거는 박근혜 정부 평가를 가늠할 지표가 될 예정인 가운데 정치권은 이미 선거 분위기가 조성되고 있다. 새누리당은 전당대회를 앞두고 있다. 무엇보다 여야에게 가장 큰 위협으로 다가올 변수 중 하나는 바로 무소속 안철수 의원의 창당이다. 여론 조사 기관 갤럽 코리아에 의하면 안 의원의 당이 출마할 경우, 여야 지지도에 모두 영향을 줄 것으로 조사됐다. 여야 내의 분파 갈등 또한 한층 심해질 것으로 예상된다.
Politics to get tougher for Park in 2014
President Park Geun-hye began the new year reiterating her economic and social targets and calling on the nation to come together, but the outlook for the political arena appears anything but harmonious.
 “My Administration will channel the national capabilities into reinforcing the hard-won gains of economic recovery, so as to invigorate the economy and stabilize the day-to-day lives of the people,” Park said in the New Year speech, calling on the public to “join forces to prepare for an economic takeoff.” She added that her government will lay the foundations for peaceful reunification of the two Koreas on top of an “impregnable security posture.”
*Channel into: 한 곳으로 돌리다, 쏟다, 집중하다
*Impregnable: 확고한, 빈틈없는
 “As we open a new year and embrace new changes, I ask all of you to join us. My administration will do everything it can to ensure 2014 brings greater hope and vitality to you all.”
 However the political parties, whose cooperation will be crucial to Park achieving her aims, are to be wrapped up in crucial elections in June and July which will be key barometers for the Park Geun-hye administration.
*barometer: 바로미터, 지표
 Voters will pick provincial and municipal chiefs and councilors in June in nationwide local elections. As many as 10 parliament seats will be contested during by-elections the following month.
 “The year is all about the elections. If you consider candidate nominations, the elections start in January, and from March, the election-dominated environment will take hold,” professor Shin Yul of Myongji University said.
*Take hold: 장악하다
 The effects of the upcoming elections began to take hold within the ruling Saenuri Party in December. With its chairman Rep. Hwang Woo-yea’s term ending in May, calls to elect the new leadership in March clashed with the plan to hold the in-house election in August, after both elections.
*in-house election: 전당대회
 The call for a March election was supported by the pro-Lee Myung-bak faction, and was considered by some a ploy to undermine the pro-Park Geun-hye faction’s position in the party.
*ploy: 계략, 책략
*Pro: 지지, 찬성, 친-
*faction: 분파, 계파
 The biggest challenge for the ruling party, and the main opposition Democratic Party, however, will come from independent Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo. Ahn has been laying the foundation for launching his own party for some time, and appears to pose a threat the two behemoth parties have not faced in recent years. While Ahn allied with the DP’s Rep. Moon Jae-in last year’s presidential election, both sides have ruled out a similar alliance in this year’s elections
*Rule out: 배제하다, 제외하다
 According to a survey conducted by Gallup Korea in the final week of November, Ahn’s party could receive the support of a significant chunk of the voters.
 The survey showed that Ahn’s party would be supported by 26 percent of the voters, undermining both parties’ bases of support.
 Of the two, the DP will be harder hit with Ahn’s party projected to nearly halve its support rate. In the survey, the DP’s support rate fell to 11 percent from 20 percent, while that of the Saenuri Party went from 43 percent to 35 percent after the launch of Ahn’s new party.
*Project: 추측하다, 예상하다
*Halve: 반으로 줄다
 And for the DP, experts say that Ahn’s group making advances in the Jeolla provinces could spell serious trouble, enough to rip it apart.
*Rip apart: 찢다
 The Gallup Korea survey showed that Ahn’s party would outpace the DP in the Jeolla provinces by 7 percentage points.
*Outpace: 앞지르다, 앞서다
 “The DP could face a crisis that could split it,” Shin said.
“Honam’s support has had the effect of legitimizing the main opposition party. That could be lost if (the DP) loses to Ahn.” Honam refers to the North and South Jeolla provinces, which have given near absolute support to the DP and those linked to late President Kim Dae-jung.