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A party with 11% approval rating has 11 presidential candidates

A party with 11% approval rating has 11 presidential candidates

Posted March. 15, 2017 07:09,   

Updated March. 15, 2017 07:15


Rep. Kim Jin-tae of the Liberty Korea Party declared Tuesday that he would run for presidency to protect former President Park Geun-hye. On the same day, North Gyeongsang Province Governor Kim Kwan-yong also said he would run for president. Nine from the party including Rep. Won Yoo-chul, Rep. Cho Kyung-tae and Lee In-je, a former senior leader of the party, have announced that they would join the presidential race. If former Gyeonggi Province Governor Kim Moon-soo, who has yet to decide whether to run for presidency, and South Gyeongsang Governor Hong Jun-pyo, who will make an announcement on Saturday, are considered, the total number goes up to 11. The party with an 11 percent approval rating (based on Gallup polls between March 7 and March 9) is crowded with candidates each with less than one percent approval rating.

Though many people forgot this, the Liberty Korea Party was once a ruling party. It is not exempt from responsibility for the dismissal of President Park. The pro-Park faction, once Park’s royal bodyguards, and those who would support or curry favor with them are abandoned folks. Instead of apologizing for their wrongdoings, those in the party, now called as a “pro-Park zombie party, announced that they would run for president with a less-than-one approval rating. It is hard to understand whether they seriously want to be a president or they simply do not want to lose a piece of their pie. It has gone overboard.

It makes us speechless as they have even an internal conflict over primary rules. The party leadership created a special provision allowing party members to register to the presidential candidate list until the public opinion poll begins on March 29 to attract Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn to its presidential primary election. In response, other candidates opposed the decision, announcing that they would not join the party’s primary election. The party suspended its membership for Governor Hong Jun-pyo who will soon have a verdict on bribery charges by the Supreme Court and gave a special benefit to Acting President Hwang. In Myung-jin, the emergency chief of the party, is controlling primary rules like a king, instead of pushing for a reform.

Acting President Hwang should make his position clear so that the Liberty Korea Party does not have a pipe dream. He did not even propose a date for a presidential election during the cabinet meeting held on Tuesday. The party is swayed even more by his unclear position. The only way for the party to survive is to break with the pro-Park faction that is largely responsible for Park’s misfortune. It would rather make Koreans less disappointed if it considers how to revive conservative politics with a serious self-examination.

Young-Hae Choi yhchoi65@donga.com