Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo, former co-chairman of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, has been gaining a momentum in his effort to form a new opposition political party in Korea following his declaration of departure from the New Political Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) on Dec. 20, 2015.
Reports indicate that Ahn has been feeling from his personal experiences while with the party that it was not fit to take over the control of the government through elections.
Speaking at a press conference at the Chunggu Chapter of the Businessmen’s Association in Daejeon on Dec. 22, 2015, which he visited after Busan, Gwangju and Jeonju, Ahn declared, “In many elections in Korea, whichever party won in the Daejeon area won the final victory and I will try to give a new life to the opposition political camp in Korea who has collapsed.”
Then he said, “In many elections in Korea, whichever party won in the Daejeon area won the final victory and I will try to give a new life to the opposition political camp in Korea who has collapsed.”
Ahn said, “I personally owe greatly to the Daejeon City because it was where I was awakened to the importance of the localities when my mind had been centered around Seoul and the Capital zone.”
Then he said, “Many changes have begun taking place, including the conspicuous dropping of the people’s support rating of the ruling Saenuri Party down to the 30% range and I believe that it would be interesting to the Korean people that I form a new political party and join the competition for carrying out reforms.”
“Contrary to the belief among some people,” reasoned Ahn, “I think that the present situation in Korea will contribute to the interests of the people because it will inject vitality into the political parties of the opposition camp and cause the departure of the people with different ideas from the ruling political camp.”
Ahn emphasized the possibility that his new party will cause the division of the ruling camp and not such a situation in the opposition camp.
Then Ahn predicted, “If we try to renovate ourselves, the Saenuri Party and the NPAD, too, would find themselves compelled to follow suit and change themselves, which will ultimately make the Korean people the final winners.”
Then he said, “I am highly encouraged by the newly developing situation in Korea where the people, who had lukewarmly supported the Saenuri Party because they had no trustworthy opposition party to repose their confidence in, have begun leaving the party in search of a new place of choice.”
“I promise that I will respond to them with a concrete result,” Ahn declared.
Many Korean-language media also indicated that Ahn has changed from his former position and stance at the NPAD.
Ahnis no longer like when he used to be before. They say that Ahn no longer does unpredictable things nor does he make any more ambiguous statements.
At the time of the last National Assembly elections in April 2012, Ahn made the widely publicized unpredictable declaration that he would quit his candidacy in the Presidential election race in spite of the fact that he was the frontrunner in many of the prestigious media opinion surveys. In the same way, Ahn merged with the then Democratic Party when he had little reason to do so.
Now Ahn is different. He has become a resolute man, and carries into action what he says. For instance, within eight days of his declaration of bolting from the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), Ahn officially declared that he would form an opposition political party within the next two months when the National Assembly elections were only four months away.
A close associate of Ahn said that the most prominent change of Ahn is his attitude in meeting with people. Ahn has been known as a man who shuns ‘touchy-feely’ways. He is also known as a man who does not know the importance of people who stay around him as they like him.
Last year, when Ahn was one of the two co-chairmen of the NPAD, he did not help any of his supporters who wanted to win the party nomination to run in the June-4 local elections and the July-30 supplementary re-elections?with the sole exception of Gwangju City Mayor Yoon Jang-hyun. Due to this type of attitude on the part of Ahn, many prominent politicians have left him.
In a striking contrast with this attitude, Ahn now attends many meetings and events of his associates and followers who plan to run in the National Assembly elections next year. Ahn raises the hands of the election candidates at such meetings and asks the congregations to support the candidates. Ahn also tells the candidates in sharp contrast with his past attitude, “This time, I am going to help you.”
A close associate of Ahn who has been helping Ahn since the 2012 National Assembly general elections says, “Rep. Ahn used to think that looking after his own men was a ‘bad practice of the past’ but that now he has changed after experiencing all kinds of things in the Korean political arena. “He said, “Now he even offers, ‘I will help you.’”
When Ahn bared his plan on Dec. 21, 2015 to form a new opposition political party in early February next year, he posed before the press cameramen with four bolters from the NPAD hand-in-hand, including Rep. Moon Byung-ho. An associates of Ahn said, “Before he used to think that he alone was right and sought people of his own kind but that now he has changed and he obviously tries to work also with other people if they are ‘not so bad’ in the eyes of the people.”
Another close associate of Ahn disclosed, “Many former cadre members of the opposition party tried to join the Ahn camp but Ahn rejected them classifying them as ‘people with the vested rights of the past’ whom he detested.”
In a striking contrast with this attitude, Ahn now has his doors wide open.
Ahn has substantially chanced also in money matters. In the past, for instance, when he tried to form a new political party he used to check the receipts, which was a cause of regrets among his supporters. “We have been using our own money to help him, but he even checks the receipts when he uses his money, “complained one of his past associates.
When Ahn suddenly gave up his plan to form a new political party of his own in March last year and joined the old Democratic Party, there were rumors that the reason may have been related with the billions of won he would need in the creation of a new party. In sharp contrast with this attitude of the past, now Ahn is known to have expressed his willingness to donate money from his own pocket for the formation of the new party.
A close associate of Ahn disclosed that Ahn expressed his willingness to initially donate about 100 million won to secure an office and take care of other immediate expenses.
Ahn will be entitled to the use of the government subsidy of 8.8 billion won from the national treasury if he succeeds in forming a negotiating body (formed with a minimum of 20 members of the National Assembly). An associate of Ahn said that even if Ahn does not get the public subsidy he has made up his mind to go ahead with his political plan.