Park turns deaf ear to open primary
Three Davids of the ruling camp, Reps. Chung Mong-joon, Lee Jae-oh and Gyeonggi Governor Kim Moonsoo, are challenging Goliath Park Geun-hye over the party’s primary rules.
The minor presidential bidders want an open primary.
They are trying to pressure Park, the unrivaled frontrunner, to support the change in how the presidential candidate from the ruling Saenuri Party is selected, hinting at boycotting the contest if their demands are not met.
A clash between the two sides looms large as the Saenuri Party leadership has shown few signs of making any concessions on changing the primary rules.
Reps. Ahn Hyo-dae and Kim Yong-tae urged the leadership to change the rules before launching the primary committee on Monday. Ahn is serving as a spokesman of Rep. Chung Mongjoon, whereas Kim is representing the Gyeonggi governor.
During a news conference at the National Assembly, Rep. Kim said the presidential candidates have no intention of compromising on their request to change the primary rules. The minor presidential hopefuls called for an open primary.
“If our request is not accepted, it will be inevitable that there will be an impasse on the primary issue,” he warned.
He went on to say aides to the three presidential bidders won’t participate in meetings where all Saenuri Party members are invited.
Their fresh demands for a change of rules come a day after they met to discuss strategy for the primary.
They attended a late-night meeting Thursday as the primary committee is soon to be set in motion.
The ruling party leadership named former National Assembly Speaker Kim Soo-han as head of the committee to handle primary affairs. The committee, which will begin work Monday, will draw up the detailed roadmap for the primary and manage the crucial contest.
The ruling party plans to pick its presidential candidate on Aug. 21 based on the combined results of votes cast by party members and public opinion polls.
Regarding the primary rules, unrivaled presidential hopeful Park shows no signs of making concessions. Earlier, the former Saenuri Party leader said it was inappropriate for “players” to demand a change of rules just because chances for them to win are low.
“If they want to win, athletes need to adapt to the rules and hone their skills, not complain of the rules,” she said.
Primary rules surfaced as a key issue as minor candidates see it as a last resort to succeed. Without changing the rules, the chances for them to win the race are dismal as Park is enjoying unrivaled popularity.
Their rational for an open primary is based on the untested belief that Park is more popular among party members than the public and therefore minor candidates would have more chances to win under an open primary.