Democratic Party chairman Rep. Kim Han-gil announced a third batch of political reform plans on Sunday, in an apparent attempt to gain greater support ahead of independent Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo’s launch of his own party next month.
In his parliamentary address, Kim laid out a package of reform proposals, including barring those with records of corruption charges from consideration as candidates for national elections and expanding direct voting to the selection of election candidates and party leaders.
The measures were a follow-up to Kim’s pledges announced on Feb. 5, which focused on eliminating lawmakers’ privileges and on a parliamentary reform.
“The latest reform plan aims to bring about true democracy in the party’s system and to establish a fair, transparent election culture,” Kim said in his speech.
Under the plans, the DP will impose strict sanctions against candidates indicted on corruption charges, from excluding them from the nomination list to canceling their party memberships.
In addition, the DP plans to fill half of its election board with non-party members, including the position of chairman, to bolster ethics within the organization.
Other measures envisioned by Kim include a direct voting procedure for selecting election candidates and party leaders.
In order to reflect public opinion in its future policies and voting procedures, the party envisions establishing a firm “online network” by releasing a smartphone application for the party.
As for boosting its role in government policies, Kim emphasized expanding the role of the party’s labor arm, the Euljiro Committee, while enhancing the independence of its research branch.
“Basically, (the announced plans) reflect the party’s goal to apply these principles in the forthcoming local elections,” said Rep. Choi Jae-cheon, in charge of the party’s public relations.
Ahead of the June 4 local elections, the DP has been pushed into a tight corner as Ahn encroaches on the opposition party’s territory with the upcoming launch of his new party.
The DP has been announcing a series of reform plans that would bring changes to the party and appeal to voters.
The DP was in third place in terms of public support with a dismal 8.9 percent, while Ahn’s party placed second with 26.3 percent and Saenuri came first with 39.8 percent, according to a January survey conducted by local broadcaster KBS.
By Suk Gee-hyun and news reports