Updated March. 03, 2014 02:04
The main opposition Democratic Party and the New Political Vision Party led by Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo agreed on Sunday to establish a new political party ahead of the June 4 local elections, jolting the political circle. The advent of an expanded opposition camp is expected to shape the upcoming local elections into a bilateral match between the ruling and opposition parties.
Democratic Party Chairman Rep. Kim Han-gil and independent lawmaker Ahn Cheol-soo, who leads the preparatory committee for the establishment of New Political Vision Party, announced at a press conference held in the National Assemble on Sunday, The two sides have agreed to establish a new political party for new politics as soon as possible and achieve a transfer of power in 2017 (presidential election). An hour before the press conference, the Democratic Party convened a closed-door supreme council and approved the creation of a new party with the New Political Vision Party unanimously.
The two leaders also proclaimed that they would abandon the candidate nomination system for the lower-level administration chiefs and councilors. They reached a consensus on the need to abolish parties nomination for candidates for lower-level local governments and councils. However, Ahn has deferred his decision on whether to abolish parties nomination for proportional representation candidates in the election. In regard to this, an official from the Democratic Party said, It should be discussed at a preparatory committee for a new party, which will be made.
Rep. Choi Jae-cheon, the head of strategy and PR at the Democratic Party, said, The new party will be established in the third zone and all legal issues related to the creation of the party can be finalized by the end of this month. Rep. Moon Jae-in, a senior member of the pro-Roh Moo-hyun faction in the Democratic Party, said that he welcomes the agreement on and announcement of the coalition.
The agreement on the creation of a new party seems to have been led by the non-pro-Roh faction in the Democratic Party and Ahns party. Thus, the envisioned coalition party is expected to face internal conflicts between the allied forces of Kim Han-gil and Ahn Cheol-soo and the pro-Roh faction over the leadership in the coalition party as well as the candidate nomination for the heads of upper-level municipal governments.
According to an official from Kims side, the chairman who had been pressured to step down by the pro-Roh faction sent his aide to Moon on last Thursday to ask him to make efforts for solidarity of the party, but Moon did not make any detail response. The official added that the "surprise announcement" by Kim and Ahn is partly attributed to such circumstances in the party.
Ruling Saenuri Party spokesman Park Dae-chul denounced the coalition plan, saying, "It is collusion between an emerging party incapable of rehabilitating itself and the main opposition party desperate to form any opposition alliance.