Main opposition party leader Rep. Moon Jae-in on Friday accused President Park Geun-hye of attempting to hold on to her influence by having her followers elected in next year’s general election in response to the ruling camp’s nomination rule row.
“It is a dictatorial way of thinking for (President Park) who wants to maintain her power and secure her post-presidency position by getting her close confidants nominated for (a general election).” Moon said of Cheong Wa Dae’s open opposition to the rival party leaders’ agreement earlier this week on a new nomination procedure for April’s parliamentary vote.
“Cheong Wa Dae’s attempt to interfere with the nomination issue is an act that denies autonomy and responsibility of party politics,” he said at the New Politics Alliance for Democracy meeting, calling for his embattled counterpart to stick to his guns.
Saenuri Party Chairman Rep. Kim Moo-sung(left) and the NPAD Chairman Rep. Moon Jae-in. Yonhap
Moon’s remark came amid an escalating tit-for-tat between Cheong Wa Dae and the ruling Saenuri Party leader Rep. Kim Moo-sung.
The scuffle peaked on Thursday as Cheong Wa Dae publicly denounced Kim’s move and the ruling party leader subsequently denied the accusation. Kim even boycotted party meetings and public events where he was scheduled to attend alongside Park.
Mindful of the party being plunged into disarray, Kim and the presidential office agreed to stop the blame game later Thursday evening.
On Friday, the Saenuri Party lawmakers decided to form a special body to discuss how to nominate candidates for next year’s general elections.
“We are going back to square one,” said the Saenuri Party whip Rep. Won Yoo-chul, “We should nominate excellent candidates who will perform well (at the upcoming elections). There will be no preconditions. We will address this matter in accordance with democratic rules and party’s regulation,” said Won.
While predicting that the NPAD would benefit from the standoff between the President and the ruling Party, experts warned that the NPAD should be cautious as the Saenuri Party would eventually heal the wounds despite the president office’s “unprecedented” interference in the political party’s affairs.
“Things are turning out better for Moon as his case for democracy is very strong,” said Yoon Pyung-joong, a political philosophy professor at Hanshin University. “But given the fact that the president enjoys much higher approval ratings than the NPAD, the impact of Moon’s appeal could be offset,” said Yoon.
“True, Park did violate democratic rules ... but Kim and Park would avert the worst case scenario as both needed each other’s supports. Park needs Kim who has a robust support base in his constituency. Kim, for his part, knows that he will never be able to run for president without Park’s support.”
Chairman Kim, meanwhile, continued to challenge the Park loyalists, saying that there will be no “strategic nomination” as written in the party Constitution and rules.
“Strategic nomination is a wrongful system. I will no longer discuss it,” Kim told reporters while attending an event. Political parties have often resorted to unilaterally nominating key figures to competitive constituencies. The pro-Park members have called for the system in the upcoming elections to secure a win.
By Yeo Jun-suk (email@example.com