Rep. Kim Han-gill of the Minjoo Party (formerly, New Politics Alliance for Democracy [NPAD]) declared today (Jan. 3, 2016) at the National Assembly in Seoul that he was leaving the Minjoo Party to start all over again in order to materialize the change of government.
“I just could not idly watch the opposition camp collapse with folded arms while the party was just waiting to be defeated,” he declared.
Then he said, “I had had such a hard time trying to persuade Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo to join the NPAD at the beginning, but the hegemonists (alluding to Chairman Moon Jae-in and his associates in the NPAD) literally made Ahn leave the party.”
Reports indicate that Kim will sooner or later join the new party to be formed by Ahn with whom Kim had shared the co-chairmanship of the NPAD before Moon took over.
Kim said that he was leaving the opposition party in order to win a victory over the ruling Saenuri Party that was anti-democratic pursued a political line which was undemocratic and which ran counter to the interests of the majority of the Korean people.
A number of other members of the National Assembly, who supported Kim, are expected to follow suit, and leave the Minjoo Party, which will seriously weaken the party status with the general elections slated only a few months away.
Kim is considered a principal leader of the non-mainstream faction and his departure from the Minjoo Party of Moon is expected to deal a serious blow to Minjoo, if not fatal.
“Now we have to draw a new political picture on a blank piece of paper,” he declared, “and we should put an end to the two-party system in Korea that has lived long enough if not too long.” He disclosed that he will try to do his share to meet the demand of the people for a proper order in the political arena in Korea today. “It is high time, we sloughed off the old hide,” Kim declared.
Since Ahn triggered the division of the Minuju Party on Dec. 13 by leaving the party, a total of nine lawmakers have bolted from the party, including Reps. Kim Dong-chul, Moon Byung-ho, Yoo Sung-yup, Choi Jae-cheon, Kwon Eun-hee, Im Nae-hyun and Hwang Joo-hong. The total number of Minjoo Party has thus dwindled to 118 from the original total 127.
However, Kim has over a dozen lawmakers in the opposition camp who follow him and act with him and it is expected that if they all leave Minjoo and join Ahn’s party (yet to be born), Ahn will easily form a parliamentary negotiating body of 20 lawmakers, which would bring the new party a considerable financial benefit, an estimated eight billion won in official subsidy from the National Treasury.
Ahn Cheol-soo and Kim Han-gill had been co-chairmen of the main opposition NPAD (predecessor of Minjoo) before the takeover of the party control by Moon.
The breakup of the Minjoo Party, in a sense, has been predestined in the opinion of many political observers in Korea in the fact that the party was formed mainly with the progressive-minded politicians of the late former President Roh Moo-hyun and the followers of the democratic-minded late former President Kim Dae-jung.
Furthermore, Moon hails from Busan and the two southeastern provinces of Gyeongang while the followers of Kim Dae-jung from the rival Jeolla Provinces opposit to the Gyeongsang Provinces. In a sense, division of the opposition party might have been predestined.
Reports indicate that Kim is expected to join Ahn’s new party with his followers, which would expedite the rapid growth of the new opposition party.
Originally, Kim led a faction of about 22 lawmakers. However, this time he bolted from Minjoo alone leaving his followers behind in the old party. There are speculations pointing to the possibility that his followers, too, might leave the Minjoo Party in due course of time and join Ahn’s new party with Kim. Of Kim’s followers, some lawmakers have already expressed their determination to leave Minjoo, including Rep. Joo Seung-yong who made it clear to leave the party on Jan. 13.
There are reports that Advisor Chung Dae-chul of the Minjoo Party and over 40 other former lawmakers of the old Democratic Party (now Minjoo) will leave Minjoo.
Minjoo Floor Leader Park Ji-won, too, is reportedly thinking of leaving the Minjoo Party after Jan. 28 and there also are reports indicating the possibility that former Assemblyman Kwon No-gap (currently advisor to the Minjoo Party and the doyen of the faction of followers of the late former President Kim Dae-jung) will leave Minjoo Party en masse.
Asked about the main cause of his bolting from Moon’s party, Rep. Kim made the following remarks: “Why am I bolting from the Minjoo Party? The main reason is that we should defeat the ruling Saenuri Party of President Park Geun-hye who pursues policies against the principle of democracy, in disregard of the livelihood of the people and in resistance against the current of the history.”
Then he said, “We had made a great extent of effort to persuade Rep. Ahn to join the NPAD, but the hegemonism prevailing in the party (due to Moon and his faction) have driven him out of the party. We felt helpless in the face of the enormous power of those enjoying and trying to protect the ‘vested rights’ (of Moon and his followers).”
Then Kim concluded, “We should now do away with the losing game from the internal partisan strife but, instead, try to seek to form a political party in whom the people will repose their confidence as a party to rely on.”