End the tug-of-war
Twenty days have passed since former Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl was elected presidential candidate of the People Power Party (PPP). But the opposition has yet to form its election campaign committee. On Wednesday evening, Yoon met with Kim Chong-in, former emergency committee chair of the PPP, to bring him in as head of the campaign committee, but failed to narrow their disagreements over the composition of the committee.
Kim, an octogenarian, is a seasoned politician with expertise in helping political parties, left or right, win elections. Yoon, a political rookie, wants to recruit him to lead the committee. Given Kim's age, however, it is very hard to expect from him attractive visions to tackle a plethora of challenges in the era of the fourth industrial revolution, such as AI and Big Data, despite his political talents.
People's fatigue is deepening after watching their two week-long tug of war over apparent discrepancies. Both Kim and Yoon are responsible for the endless struggle. Even though Yoon is the presidential candidate of the PPP, Kim kept on pressuring Yoon to concede to his demands, which irked conservative voters. Yoon has been zigzagging over the recruitment of Kim to lead the committee.
Worse, Yoon's invitation of Kim Han-gill and Kim Byong-joon, who worked in the liberal administration, to the leadership of the committee is questionable. The two Kims, in their late 60s, are not the right choices for a party trying to attract young voters. Instead, the committee is brimming with old boys. A spokesperson for the PPP compared it to an "engine starting to stall."
All the problems can be attributed to Yoon's indecisiveness and a total failure to present his platforms and visions for the future. Yoon must recognize that his comfortable lead in polls over rival Lee Jae-myung of the ruling Democratic Party (DP) with 100 days left before the election owes more to voters' hope for change than his own strengths. And yet the PPP seems to be embroiled in an internal battle to reserve powerful positions in a new government as if the party already won the election.
Yoon must launch the campaign committee as quickly as possible. Otherwise, voters will immediately turn their backs on the party. The clock is ticking. He must make a decision on whether to invite Kim or not. In the meantime, Lee Jae-myung, former Gyeonggi governor, narrowed his gap in polls with Yoon after forcing seasoned politicians to step out of his campaign committee and filling the vacancy with young and new faces. If Yoon wastes time launching the campaign committee due to internal conflict, voters will soon turn their backs on him.
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