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Ahn’s self-powered argument is opposed within the party

Ahn’s self-powered argument is opposed within the party

Posted January. 10, 2017 07:05,   

Updated January. 10, 2017 07:16

The National Election Commission expressed disapproval of People’s Party former co-chair Ahn Cheol-soo’s proposal to introduce a run-off presidential election due to “practical difficulties.” As the talks to form an alliance have continued inside the party and the commission reacted negatively to Ahn's proposal, some argue that he should inevitably change his plan for the presidential election.

Rep. Ahn attended the party's reorganization convention of South Chungcheong provincial chapter on Monday and stressed the need to introduce a run-off election, by saying, “It is the only way to form a real alliance by the people, not by a calculated move of politicians. The person who puts off today’s reforms until tomorrow is a conservative extremist. Those who promise to reform after the presidential election is a liar. We must do it now.” His speech directly targeted former chairman of the main opposition Democratic Party Moon Jae-in who was passive to introduce a run-off election while presenting campaign pledges such as plans to liquidate deeply rooted evil behind the power.

He also emphasized the need to acquire true self-power, saying, “Looking back in history, parties failed to win the victory when they sought an alliance without believing in their self-power. Then, how can we persuade the people to trust us when we do not trust ourselves.”

There are different opinions on his idea even inside his party, however. People's Party floor leader Joo Seung-yong appeared on a radio show on the same day and said that he would support the alliance. "If non-Park Geun-hye and non-Moon Jae-in faction joined the People’s Party and elected as the presidential candidate, he/she will be unilaterally elected in the presidential election among other candidates from pro-Park Geun-hye and pro-Moon Jae-in faction," Joo said. With regard to a run-off election, the floor leader considered that the issue should be handled by a special committee on constitutional amendment given that the issue is related to the constitutional amendment.

At the parliamentary committee on security and public administration on the day, National Election Commission Secretary-General Kim Dae-nyun said that introducing a run-off election is practically difficult given that early election is highly likely. “If the Constitutional Court upholds the impeachment bill, a presidential election must be held within 60 days. Considering the run-off election, the main election should be further moved forward.”

“We should make efforts to push on the run-off election, despite many challenges," Ahn said. "Saying things, such as 'this is not the right time,' it violates the law,' 'we'd better not do this,' is from the far-right conservatives. Anything can be done and we can find a way.”

In the meantime, latecomer presidential candidates of the Minjoo Party, such as Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon and Seongnam Mayor Lee Jae-myung had little reaction to the comment of the NEC secretary-general as their immediate goal was to be selected as presidential candidate of the party.

Hyung-Jun Hwang constant25@donga.com