Published : 2013-01-08 19:36
Updated : 2013-01-08 19:36
The main opposition Democratic United Party was put in paralysis when it was defeated in the Dec. 19 presidential election. That was understandable. What party could operate normally in such a crisis?
By this time, however, the party should have selected an interim leader tasked with the job of pulling the party together, evaluating the outcome of the presidential election and supervising its operation until a new leadership is elected in a national convention later this year. Belatedly, factions in the party agreed to select an interim leadership ― on a consensus, not by a vote ― on Wednesday.
But what is beyond comprehension is that the factions were still bickering on the eve of its selection over who should lead an emergency committee empowered to manage the party until a national convention was held. If no consensus emerged, the floor leader of the party said, the selection would have to be put to a vote. But a new round of factional competition for such a vote could deepen the divisiveness at a time when unity was demanded.
No matter who is selected as the interim leader, he will have a formidable task of rebuilding the party that is now in disarray ― healing the trauma of defeat, consolidating unity among factions and preparing for the parliamentary by-elections scheduled for April. Of course, the task must be preceded by the evaluation of the party’s failed election strategies and a decision on who should be held accountable.
In dealing with the electoral defeat, the center-left party under the interim leader will have to seriously consider resetting its policy orientation and moving closer to the center, given that Moon Jae-in, who had espoused the late President Roh Moo-hyun’s progressive policy line, was defeated in the election. It is certainly worth recalling that party big shots, upon losing the election, vowed to “change the party to the bone.”
The party also needs to consider advancing its national convention that is currently scheduled for May, as demanded by former floor leaders and other big shots. A new leader, if elected in March, could whip quarreling factions into unity ahead of the by-elections.
Also at issue is what to do with the party’s former alliance partners ― the independent Ahn Cheol-soo, who withdrew his bid for the presidency in favor of Moon, and his supporters. Some of Ahn’s supporters will undoubtedly consider running in the by-elections.