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NPAD should nominate candidates to avoid returning to ‘Democratic Party’

NPAD should nominate candidates to avoid returning to ‘Democratic Party’

Posted April. 12, 2014 05:03,   


Ahn Cheol-soo and Kim Han-gil, co-chairmen of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, withdrew their party’s bid to discard partisan nomination of candidates for lower level administration chiefs and council members on Thursday. “We apologize to the public that we fail to keep our promise.” They have thus reversed course of action after promoting as symbol of “new politics” revocation of the partisan nomination of candidates for lower-level government council members, which the ruling Saenuri Party and the then main opposition Democratic Party promised as their key election pledge at the last presidential election. No-nomination of low-level administration chiefs and council members is a key pledge Ahn and Kim trumpeted as the biggest cause when they made surprise announcement to merge their parties on March 2.

The Saenuri Party blasted the alliance, saying, “New politics has been completely buried from today.” We question whether Saenuri, which withdrew its presidential election pledge and chose to nominate candidates, is eligible to criticize the alliance’s revocation of the same pledge. At a press conference, Ahn said, “Many people are worried that with the Saenuri Party having already nullified the pledge, if our party does not nominate candidates, we will lose the election,” in blaming Saenuri for his party’s withdrawal of the alleged cause for the merger of his and Kim’s parties. Failing to admit to mistakes cannot be construed as behavior suitable for a responsible political leader.

When Saenuri opted for nomination since early on, Ahn and Kim labeled Saenuri as a dishonest political group, and called themselves as force that keeps promises. The public remember them pledging repeatedly that “Even if we incur immediate losses, we will move forward only to serve the best interest of the public.” As intra-party opposition and confusion escalated, the co-chairmen of the alliance failed to display leadership, and shifted their course to "exit strategy” to withdraw their bid at the pretext of a party member poll and a public survey. The party deserves criticism in that the poll was intended to generate the answer “withdrawal of no-nomination,” considering the question in the survey “Which view do you support between one suggesting that with Saenuri set to nominate candidates, if NPAD does not nominate, it will constitute an unfair election, and the other suggesting that the party should not properly nominate candidates as pledged.”

The justification for the parties’ merger and the biggest cause for the establishment of a new party, which they promoted, have now disappeared. Critics say that NPAD just remains as “the Democratic Party again” with only two formerly independent lawmakers, Ahn and Song Ho-chang, joining the Democratic Party with 126 seats in the National Assembly. The alliance should solemnly apologize to the public for causing extreme confusion over pledged no-nomination of candidates for lower level administration chiefs and council members for 38 days. Notably, Ahn must sternly reflect upon the criticism that he packaged measures that he could hardly afford to follow as “new politics,” only to back down. Once the party has chosen to nominate candidates, it is urged to manage nomination process in a clean and transparent manner, nominate fresh and competent candidates, and thus demonstrate politics living up to what it calls "new politics."