Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo, former cochairman of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, on Sunday urged the incumbent party leader to withdraw his plan to conduct a vote of confidence, saying that he was only turning the ongoing dispute over the party’s reform initiative into another in a series of power struggles.
In a statement titled “A Letter to NPAD chairman Rep. Moon Jae-in,” Ahn also called on the party’s executive council to delay a meeting scheduled for Wednesday to vote on the reform measures that would only highlight the party’s intensifying factional feud and further aggravate confusion within the party.
The remark came a day after Moon accepted another demand by key party members to postpone a revote on his job, backtracking from his announcement last week.
In a surprise announcement, Moon said he would leave his post if the party voted down the package of party reform measures. The former presidential candidate for the party had been facing mounting pressure to resign from some party members, mostly outside of the mainstream, who remained skeptical of the reform proposal and the leadership.
Moon’s decision last week was seen as a move aimed to silence objections to the party’s reform initiatives and consolidate his position as the party leader amid a deepening rift between the pro-Roh Moo-hyun faction, regarded as mainstreamers, and nonmainstream members. But his decision was met with vehement opposition from most members of the Supreme Council, who condemned it as an ultimatum against nonmainstreamers.
With Moon reaching the agreement with key party members Saturday, the dispute over the vote of confidence appeared to have started to settle down. But Ahn’s opposition Sunday seemed to have effectively reignited controversy over Moon’s leadership and the reform packages.
The proposal, drawn by the party’s special innovation committee, calls for the party to form an electoral committee of nonparty members to nominate candidates for the general elections in April. The panel also suggested offering extra points to fresh figures, including women and the handicapped, in the nomination process.
Members of minority factions, including Rep. Ahn, however, remained skeptical of the plan, suspecting that the group of mainstreamers, led by Moon, would abuse the reform proposals to pursue their own political agendas.
“The proposal is far from the fundamentals of party innovation and we have already experienced a disastrous outcome,” said Ahn, referring to the party’s nomination rule that reflected popularity scores garnered from mobile users when selecting its presidential candidate in 2012.
Ahn urged Moon to instead select the party candidates through an open primary system, which the ruling Saenuri has already adopted. Proponents believe that such a system would allow more rank-and-file party members and ordinary voters to participate in the process of nominating candidates.
Ahn has repeatedly made comments blasting Moon and the NPAD reform committee, saying their attempts to overhaul the party have failed. The reform committee was set after the party went through a crushing defeat in a by-election in April to better prepare for the upcoming general elections and also for the presidential election in late 2017.
By Cho Chung-un (email@example.com