The political dynamics in the beleaguered main opposition party took a new twist Sunday as Ahn Cheol-soo, former cochairman of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, proposed alternative ways to fight corruption to reform the party.
At a separate news conference, former NPAD member Rep. Chun Jung-bae announced the launch of a new opposition party by January next year.
The two, who are considered potential rivals to NPAD chairman Rep. Moon Jae-in’s political clout, were seen to turn up the heat against the opposition’s controlling faction.
In a press conference arranged to mark the third anniversary of his political debut, Ahn said that party members involved in corruption allegations should be immediately kicked out regardless of their status, calling for “zero tolerance” on corruption.
Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo Yonhap
Criticizing the party’s leadership as well as the reform committee, Ahn said, “For how much longer should the party’s image be swayed by the lowbrow politics of a few individuals. No matter how good a policy is, it turns into ashes with just a few words.”
“If we do not fight corruption within our party, we cannot cope with corruption in the country. Now is the time for the NPAD to reform itself from scratch.”
The NPAD’s reform committee was set up in May with the goal of resolving its internal factional feuds and to reverse the party’s falling popularity after its crushing defeats in the parliamentary by-elections.
Moon has been in conflict with Ahn over the party’s reform measures and the chairman’s recent proposal to hold a confidence vote on his leadership.
Later in the day, NPAD lawmakers and senior party members plan to discuss the issue of Moon’s confidence vote.
Also Sunday, Rep. Chun, an opposition-turned-independent lawmaker, announced plans to form a new party by January.
Chun bolted from the NPAD and ran successfully in the opposition’s home turf in Gwangju in April, raising speculation that he would move to form an alternative opposition party.
Rep. Chun Jung-bae Yonhap
He said that the party’s preparation committee will be formed by December for the work to be ready by January. Adding that the new party will be joined by political leaders, politicians, activists, young opinion leaders and experts who agree on the reformative values and vision for the people.
He also called on NPAD members “disheartened” by their party to join the move, saying, “I’m sorry but there is no future for the NPAD.” About 200 supporters joined the conference.
From news reports