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Opposition backs down on nomination

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Published : 2014-04-08 21:05
Updated : 2014-04-08 21:05

The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy will conduct a survey and a party vote to decide on the candidate nomination system for local elections.

NPAD cochairmen Reps. Ahn Cheol-soo and Kim Han-gil said Tuesday that they will comply with the results of the survey and the vote in deciding whether to follow through with forgoing nominations in the June 4 local elections. In making the decision, the survey and vote will be given equal weight.

“Various controversies from within and outside the party will be put to an end based on the will of the public and party members,” Ahn said.

While saying he will comply with the results, Ahn made an appeal for support in abolishing the system.

“Pay heed to the NPAD’s intentions to keep promises. Support the will to innovate politics by overcoming the ills of party nominations.” 
New Politics Alliance for Democracy cochairmen Ahn Cheol-soo (right) and Kim Han-gil hold a press conference at the National Assembly in Seoul on Tuesday. ( Lee Gil-dong/The Korea Herald)

Although abolishing the nomination system in local elections was a key political reform pledge of President Park Geun-hye, the ruling Saenuri Party has since backtracked, saying it may be unconstitutional.

In contrast, the opposition party has stuck to its promise despite resistance from some within the party, who argue that forgoing nominations on its own would give the ruling party an unfair advantage.

Ahn said he believed the party members and public were in favor of abolishing the system, that he had not changed his views and the poll and in-house vote would bring the party together.

“This was deemed to be the surest way to obey the people’s will by concentrating (the party’s) strength and by speaking with one voice,” Ahn said.

“When Cheong Wa Dae told us that a meeting would be difficult, it felt as if those who started a fire were telling villagers to put it out themselves,” Ahn said, referring to the president’s rejection of his proposal to discuss the issue in person.

The NPAD leaders’ announcement was welcomed by the ruling party, which had been under heavy fire from the opposition bloc for going against the election pledge.

The Saenuri Party, however, criticized Ahn and Kim for putting the blame on it and the administration.

“It is regretful that (Ahn) spoke as if the situation was caused by Cheong Wa Dae and the ruling party without any reflection on the zigzagging (involved) in the party merger and saying that forgoing nominations was the foundation of new politics,” Saenuri Party spokesman Rep. Ham Jin-gyu said.

“It is now time to end the nomination controversy that has pushed the voters and the election platform into chaos.”

By Choi He-suk (cheesuk@heralcorp.com)

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