(Korea Herald EDITORIAL December 24)
People Power Party internal feud exposes incompetence ahead of presidential election
The main opposition party, the People Power Party, faces the specter of a rudderless ship plagued by internal rivalries, a precarious situation ahead of the presidential election slated for March next year.
Apparently, the internal feud erupted between People Power Party chairman Lee Jun-seok and the campaign committee’s chief public relations representative Cho Su-jin. On a deeper level, the showdown bares the faltering leadership of the opposition party riddled with arrogance, selfishness and inordinate desire for power.
The two politicians exchanged verbal attacks during a closed-door meeting on Monday over the party’s response to the allegations against Kim Keon-hee, wife of party presidential candidate Yoon Suk-yeol.
Lee had asked Cho to handle press reports attacking him and Kim Chong-in, head of the campaign committee, in connection with the ongoing conflict, but Cho refused, saying she would only take orders from Yoon.
Cho’s response enraged Lee, the permanent co-chair of the campaign committee. In terms of the party’s organizational hierarchy, she was supposed to follow his order, since her PR team belongs to the campaign committee, not a separate unit under the direct control of presidential candidate Yoon.
The initial verbal confrontation quickly led to another more serious conflict on Monday night, as Cho shared a link with several reporters to a YouTube video questioning Lee’s sanity. The party chairman called on her to resign from her post, holding her responsible for the KakaoTalk message sent to reporters.
Cho apologized, but Lee didn’t acknowledge his gesture. Lee announced on Tuesday that he would be stepping down from all of his positions on the party’s presidential campaign committee. Later that day, Cho also offered to resign from the campaign committee.
The internal feud appears to have subsided with the withdrawal of the two key players from the campaign, but the damage they left is deep and painful. As for the latest feud, there are three aspects for party leaders and the public to consider.
First, the public has witnessed further evidence that the leadership of the main opposition party is in disarray, even at a time when all party members are expected to cooperate against the ruling Democratic Party of Korea to win the election. presidential election.
Yoon, strangely enough, did not step in to resolve the conflict, even though it was sparked by the party’s conflicting responses to his wife’s alleged wrongdoing.
Yoon reportedly said “It’s democracy” in response to Cho’s refusal to follow Lee’s order. Some critics claim that Yoon would not listen to any critical opinions about his wife in the party. If this is true, the public will question Yoon as a qualified presidential candidate, as leaders are required to pay attention to a variety of opinions – including bitter criticism.
Second, something should be done about the bloated presidential campaign committee. The committee grew without establishing any specific rules or order, in part because senior and grassroots members of the party rushed to join the organization in hopes of securing higher positions if the People Power Party won the elections.
Campaign committee leader Kim Chong-in told Yoon he would take a strong stand and move the committee forward. It remains to be seen if Kim can bring order to the rivalry-laden party.
Third, Lee, the party chairman, should think about his fancy and emotional behaviors that do not match his high position. He is supposed to set a good example as a thoughtful politician with insightful vision and deep patience. Contrary to high expectations, Lee continues to fight with party members, especially when his self-esteem is called into question, revealing his vulnerability.
If the People Power Party does not manage to form itself in time, it will suffer the consequences in the next elections. It is democracy.