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Ahn espouses ‘politics of life’

Independent Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo’s new party will purse “politics of life” to establish an “economy of life” in Korea, Ahn’s new political committee announced Tuesday.

According to the new politics outline, “politics of life” spans a wide range of fields, from the economy ― which the committee terms the “economy of life” ― and a national development models to welfare.

“New politics is the only way towards a just Korea. A just and effective government must be established through new politics,” Ahn said. He added that a democratic market economy and community-supported welfare, employment and education must be established. 

Independent Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo outlines his vision for new politics in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)
Independent Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo outlines his vision for new politics in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

Ahn also directed an attack on established parties that have criticized him for following a vague concept.

“The establishment claims that ‘new politics’ is vague, but that is a matter of course. Because current politics is comfortable and cozy (for the established parties), they think it must not be changed. That is why politics must be changed.”

As for the direction Ahn’s “new politics” will take, the committee set four areas on which the new party will focus.

Under the plans, Ahn’s party will aim for politics that operate within an entirely new frame and pursue “politics of life.” In addition, the party will seek to engage in politics that achieves social unity and “creates hopes by overthrowing old politics that breaks promises.”

In pursuing the goals, Ahn and those supporting his brand of politics will operate under the three values of a just society, social integration and peace on the Korean Peninsula.

While these values are not much different from slogans repeated by established parties, the plans revealed more details about Ahn’s ambiguous “new politics,” singling out factors such as monopolistic economic and political conditions, and the need for improved welfare and education systems.

Under the plans, Ahn will seek to establish a “powerful welfare state” that will follow a “social advancement paradigm centered on the people.”

The plans also claimed that the government’s welfare spending should be doubled over the next 10 years, and that a universal welfare system should be established over time while avoiding populist welfare policies.

While Ahn revealed the most detailed vision for his new politics to date, the ruling and opposition parties criticized Ahn for following the old ways.

Members of the Seoul Metropolitan Council belonging to the main opposition Democratic Party on Tuesday accused Ahn of attempting to recruit DP members.

“Attempting to lure DP lawmakers away not only goes against political principles but is directly opposed to ‘new politics,’” DP members of the Seoul Metropolitan Council said in a joint statement. They added that Ahn appears to have targeted councilors who considered their chances of a nomination low.

“If true, it is an admission that Ahn Cheol-soo’s new politics is only a shell.”

The DP’s Seoul City councilors also honed in on Ahn’s earlier comments regarding Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon, saying that it was “a self-centered statement oblivious to the meaning of the 2011 by-election.” In an interview with the local media, Ahn implied that Park should yield in favor of his party’s candidate in the Seoul mayoral election. Ahn’s support for Park in the 2011 by-election is considered to have been crucial for Park’s victory.

By Choi He-suk (