member of the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) emergency committee
By Lee Se-young, staff reporter
“Our party is a cartel party for candidates, a sterile party without a popular base, a party of collusion for ’political small businesspeople.‘”
Moon Jae-in, member of the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) emergency committee and a strong candidate for the party leadership, made a powerful call for fundamental change on Sept. 25. Using more provocative language than has been heard in a while from the 2012 presidential candidate, his remarks had many asking whether his “will to power” is finally finding a voice.
Moon’s remarks came during a keynote speech at an academic symposium in honor the late former President Roh Moo-hyun, organized by the Roh Moo-hyun Foundation.
“Becoming a party with a network of citizen participation is something we have long needed to accomplish,” Moon declared.
“We need to build different platforms online and offline to rally not just party members, but members of the public and supporters far and wide,” he added.
Many within the NPAD saw the speech, and its references to the party’s current situation and potential changes, as a declaration that Moon plans to vie for the party leadership. Others saw a more “political” motivation having to do with soon-to-be-discussed convention rules, raising the specter of a potential factional dispute inside the party.
In his speech, Moon declared that “people’s livelihoods have to always be at the center of any good politics and democracy.”
“If we are to enter a new era for democracy, the party needs to enter the citizenry,” he continued.
Speaking about the NPAD‘s current state, Moon said, “The voters and citizens exist and operate as a network, while the party is an island outside that network.”
“Without some kind of reforms to build our support base, our very existence is in jeopardy,” he added.
He went on to deliver a blistering criticism of the party organization and it lack of democratic communication - lambasting a “system where all the decision-making is concentrated with the party leadership” and the “Focus on lawmakers in the way the party is run.”
The remarks could be a call for full-scale organizational reforms so that supporters outside the party can take part in major decision-making and the selection of leaders and candidates for office.
The idea of a “network party” with supporters rather than party members as a base has been suggested by a number of Roh-wing figures outside the National Assembly - including onetime supreme council member Moon Sung-keun - since the 2012 presidential election.
But NPAD members outside the Roh camp, who depend heavily on regional associations and party members in the Honam region (Gwangju and the Jeolla provinces, traditional liberal strongholds), have resisted discussing the system, which would be more beneficial to the Roh wing and its wide-reaching support base outside the party.
The difference was also a factor in a recent emergency committee dispute over introducing mobile voting.
Please direct questions or comments to [email@example.com]