Former leader leaves opposition party [2016/01/13 11:12]

Rep. Kim Han-gil announced Sunday his departure from the main opposition party he had once jointly led, further deepening the party`s factional crisis aggravated by a recent series of defections, including one by another former cochairman, Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo.

Since Ahn left the New Politics Alliance for Democracy -- a precursor to the Minjoo Party of Korea -- on Dec. 13, eight other lawmakers, including Kim, have followed suit, reducing its number of parliamentary seats to 118. Ahn, along with Kim, founded the NPAD in 2014.

Kim pledged to realign the embattled opposition bloc and win in both the general elections and presidential vote, which are slated for April this year and December next year, while upbraiding the party for being “obsessed with factional politics.”

“Now with a clean slate, we need to draw a new political map,” Kim, who had been regarded as a leader of the party`s nonmainstream faction, told a press conference. “I will devote myself to achieving a government change and establishing a new political order.”

In an apparent denunciation of incumbent Minjoo Party chairman Moon Jae-in, Kim said that he opted to quit the party as he could not afford to endure another political defeat. Following Kim`s defection, dozens of other dissenters such as Reps. Joo Seung-yong and Park Jie-won are expected to leave.

Asked if he would join the party to be created by Ahn, Kim said he would discuss it with his former partner but refused to elaborate. During the press conference, Kim blasted mainstreamers in the party for “pushing out” Ahn, whom he had “gone out of his way” to bring into the party in 2014.

Kim`s defection came after a months-long power struggle with Moon. Criticizing Moon for exhibiting “hegemonic leadership” that Kim said has encouraged dissenters to leave the party, Kim has stepped up pressure on Moon to resign.

Undeterred by Kim`s defection, Moon expressed regret at his decision. Moon said he would take the defection as an “opportunity to reinforce the party” and vowed to recruit new faces in the run-up to the elections to fill up the constituencies vacated by defectors.

It is not the first time that Kim left his party. In 2007, Kim bolted from the Minjoo Party`s forerunner, the Uri Party, alongside 22 fellow lawmakers. The defectors went on to create a new opposition United New Democratic Party, but suffered a crushing defeat in the 2007 presidential election.
김 의원이 당을 떠난 것은 처음이 아니다. 2007년, 김 의원은 더불어민주당의 전신인 열린우리당을 22명의 동료의원들과 함께 탈당했었다. 탈당한 의원들은 새로운 야당인 대통합민주신당을 창당했지만 2007년 대선에서 참패했다.

Given that Kim`s faction is considered to include about 10 Minjoo Party lawmakers, observers forecast that other dissenting lawmakers would follow Kim, a move that the pundits expected would eventually split up the main opposition party.
김 의원의 계파에 더불어민주당 의원 10여 명이 포함돼 있는 것을 감안해, 관측통들은 다른 비주류 의원들이 김 의원을 따를 것으로 예측하고 있으며 전문가들은 이러한 행보가 결국에 제1야당을 분열시킬 것이라고 전망했다.

Including Joo, a former member of the Minjoo Party`s Supreme Council who had hinted that he would quit the party on Jan 13, Park Jie-won and liberal heavyweights close to the late president Kim Dae-jung are reportedly considering leaving the party.
1월13일 탈당을 시사했던 주승룡 전 더불어민주당 최고위원을 포함해 박지원 의원과 고 김대중 대통령과 가까운 진보진영 중진의원들이 탈당할 고심하고 있는 것으로 전해졌다.

Kim founded the NPAD with Ahn in 2014 and served as a cochairman until the party lost to the Saenuri Party in the 2014 July by-elections. Having worked as a novelist and a journalist, he was first elected as a lawmaker in 1996 general election.
김 의원은 안 의원과 함께 2014년 새정치민주연합을 창당했으며 2014년 7월 보궐선거에서 새누리당에 패할 때까지 공동대표를 역임했다. 소설가이자 언론인이었던 김 의원은 1996년 총선에서 국회의원으로 처음 당선됐다.
출처: 헤럴드미디어 영자신문 코리아헤럴드 (