New parties to challenge NPAD
By: Do Je-hae
The opposition camp’s breakup is gaining pace with the general elections less than six months away. Politicians formerly affiliated with the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) are moving toward forming their own parties.
Ex-South Province governor Park Joon-young, who declared the establishment of the New Democratic Party or Sinmin Party on Sept. 15, launched a preparatory committee for the new party Thursday. “The party will aim to eradicate widespread corruption in politics, the economy and society, and produce practical policies to advance people’s livelihoods,” Park said. The New Democratic Party is an old name of an opposition party established in 1967. It was a party set up by two opposition groups when ex-President Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung agreed to join forces.
Independent lawmaker Chung Jung-bae, who left the NPAD earlier this year, will form a committee Sunday to start preparing for a new party. He is planning to launch the party officially in January.
Chun is taking part in an opposition coalition with NPAD Chairman Moon Jae-in and minor Justice Party Chairwoman Sim Sang-jeung to protest the government’s push for state-authored history textbooks.
Rep. Park Joo-sun, who defected from the NPAD on Sept. 22, is also moving to create a new party.
The acceleration of the opposition’s breakup came as the NPAD suffered a defeat in the local by-election Wednesday to elect nine provincial and 15 municipal council members and one county chief. The Saenuri Party took 15 out of 20 races in which its candidates ran. The main opposition candidates only won two provincial council seats.
Controversy over NPAD Chairman Moon Jae-in’s leadership resurfaced following the election defeat, with some non-mainstreamers urging him to step down.
Rep. Park Jie-won, a former NPAD floor leader, called on Moon to take responsibility for the defeat. “We lost in all of the strongholds in the metropolitan region,” Park said in a Twitter message. He said that under Moon, the NPAD risks a huge defeat in the next general election.
Moon had been under pressure to step down following his party’s defeat in the April by-election, where the NPAD failed to win a single seat and lost to an independent in its traditional stronghold of Gwangju.
Former NPAD co-chairman Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo said the latest election defeat showed that the party had failed to restore the people’s trust, during a forum Thursday at the National Assembly. “The election results show that the party needs to undertake stronger measures for reform,” Ahn said.
SOURCE: THE KOREA TIMES