The main opposition Democratic Party is facing yet another bout of internal discord fueled by Rep. Park Jie-won’s apparent turnaround on running for office in South Jeolla Province.
Park’s comments have prompted vehement criticism from other South Jeolla governor hopefuls including the DP’s Rep. Lee Nak-yon.
“As the two parties have been combined, the conditions he set (for running for office) have been removed,” Lee in an interview with a Gwangju-based broadcaster on Thursday.
“(Park’s actions) feed the distrust of politics, and cannot become new politics.”
Lee Seok-hyung, former chief of Hampyeong County, South Jeolla Province, went a step further saying that Park’s decision was “typical old politics” and that he was using politics for personal gain.
On Tuesday, Park indicated that he had had a change of heart regarding the post of South Jeolla governor, prompting heavy criticism from those who had already entered the race.
“I will go to South Jeolla to listen to the public opinion to decide what (my) role for the DP and Honam is,” Park said. Honam is a term for the North and South Jeolla provinces.
Before the DP-Ahn Cheol-soo merger was announced Park had repeatedly stated that he would only run for office in the region if the DP candidate was outmatched by that of independent Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo’s party.
While Park has not made an official announcement of his plans, the three-term lawmaker is said to have been pushed towards the South Jeolla post by the recent changes in the DP’s internal dynamics.
Park, a close aide of late President Kim Dae-jung, an iconic progressive leader, is said to have been eyeing the party chairman’s seat.
However, with the merger with Ahn’s party the situation has changed dramatically.
Ahn and DP chairman Rep. Kim Han-gil agreed on Wednesday to place the new party under the leadership of two co-chairs, and fill the supreme council with equal numbers of DP and pro-Ahn figures.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org)