| Independent lawmaker Ahn Cheol-soo, who is trying to form a party of his own, on Thursday strongly criticized the main opposition Democratic Party during his visit to Gwangju, the home turf of the party, labeling the party as "obsolete system and forces." The remark is regarded as Ahn`s declaration of war against the party in its home ground.
"I think that liquidating the obsolete system in the Honam (North and South Jeolla provinces) region is an irresistible demand of the times," Ahn said during a public relations session for his plan for "new politics." He directly criticized the party, saying that it should "reflect upon itself whether it has fallen into a habitual routine, failing to repay Honam`s support with changes, reform and taking power."
The software entrepreneur-turned-lawmaker also criticized Democratic Party lawmakers speaking critically of Ahn`s plan to create his own party rather than joining or forming an alliance with the main opposition party, which Ahn argues is from the perspectives of vested interest that the opposition party calls people`s desire for new politics the opposition`s split and disparaging those who have joined Ahn`s camp. "(Such an attitude) is a product of an obsolete system, obsolete ways of thinking and obsolete behavior," he severely criticized the Democratic Party.
"We cannot remain trapped in regionalism and hostile symbiosis between the ruling and opposition parties and continue to force the electorate to choose the second worst, not the second best," he said. "Now we need new forces that would prepare to take power. I will prove it in the upcoming general elections and the next presidential election."
Ahn talked with a Dong-A Ilbo reporter aboard a flight back to Seoul. Asked if Ahn`s party would field its own candidates in next year`s local elections even if opposition candidates are struggling, he claimed that the increasing popularity of his group is expanding overall support for the opposition.
Democratic Party lawmakers also waged defensive campaigns in Gwangju. At a book publishing ceremony, opposition lawmaker Choo Mi-ae criticized Ahn`s moves to create a new party, stressing the opposition camp should not be divided again.
Gwangju Mayor Kang Un-tae, also a member of the party, said in his year-end news conference, "The desire for new politics does not mean that people want a new opposition party."