Factionalism within the ruling Saenuri Party is showing signs of returning in the run up to the party’s chairmanship election, despite talk of innovation and change.
On Sunday, six-term lawmaker Rep. Kim Moo-sung announced his bid for the party chairmanship by promising change. The six-term lawmaker also declared “war on the past,” saying that he will take the party into the future.
Kim, who headed President Park Geun-hye’s election campaign in 2012, however, is emphasizing his ties to the pro-Park faction.
“I am the one who made the boundaries of the pro-Park (faction). I have not once considered myself (a member of) the non-Park (faction),” he told reporters after announcing his bid for the party chairmanship on Sunday.
The lawmaker, who was once excluded from the ring of Park’s closest associates for supposedly pursuing his own brand of politics, is also emphasizing the need for the party to become more independent of the president.
“A relationship of healthy tension needs to be maintained, and that relationship means saying what needs to be said,” Kim Moo-sung said in a radio interview.
“Such a relationship needs to be restored. If things continue as they are now, it will be difficult to recreate a Saenuri Party administration.”
Rep. Suh Chung-won, who is rumored to be planning to officially announce his bid at Tuesday’s seminar titled “Saenuri Party’s road to change and innovation,” echoed Kim’s views. Suh is another key pro-Park figure, who is currently serving his seventh parliamentary term.
“I am not someone who takes care of Cheong Wa Dae’s orders. (I) will become a responsible chairman of a responsible party,” Suh was quoted as saying by a local daily on Monday.
While the two heavyweights promise change, two-term lawmaker competing for the party leadership Rep. Kim Young-woo has accused them of “old politics.”
“This party convention is an important opportunity to transform the party and the political circles through almost revolutionary innovation,” Kim Young-woo said in a radio interview.
“So, (the party convention) must not be marred by disputes about the original pro-Park (faction) and such, nor should the old ways be repeated.”
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com