Ahn Cheol-soo issues ultimatum to Moon Jae-in

December 6, 2015
Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo

Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo

By Kim Hyo-jin

Former opposition leader Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo indicated Sunday that he will leave the New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) if it fails to accept his demand to hold a national convention in order to elect a new party leader.

In what is regarded as an ultimatum issued to the current chairman, Rep. Moon Jae-in, Ahn said that overhauling the leadership is the only way to have a chance of winning the general election in April next year.

“It is not the time to hold onto vested rights. I request Moon to reconsider his decision to not conduct a national convention,” Ahn said during a press conference. ”If Moon is re-elected, I will accept the result and support him with my utmost efforts. If a third person, neither Moon nor I, is elected, the party can also gain momentum for reform and thus defeat the ruling party.”

Ahn’s aides said that he had sent an “ultimatum” to Moon, and that he will consider leaving the party if Moon fails to accept this, they said.

“The chairman should make it clear that if he isn’t willing to reform the party along with me. I will neither make any request, nor raise any questions from now on,” Ahn said.

The remarks came days after Moon rejected Ahn’s proposal to hold a “reformative national convention” to elect a new party leader in preparation for the general election.

Ahn previously proposed the plan, instead of accepting Moon’s offer of forming a three-way leadership along with Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon.

However, Moon refused Ahn’s counter-proposal, expressing concerns over possible division and confrontation within the party. Instead, he accepted 10 reformative measures previously proposed by Ahn in a bid to mend ties amid the deepening power struggle.

The measures are aimed at rooting out corruption and excluding party members accused of corruption from being nominated as election candidates, which could prompt a backlash from incumbent lawmakers.

Ahn rebutted Moon, saying, “Avoiding confrontation doesn’t help in establishing firm leadership. Intensive debates and competition can only ignite public interest and support and add momentum to party reforms.”

Ahn also requested that Moon provide further explanations about his decision to accept the reform measures, questioning the sincerity of his move.

“I ask Moon to explain to the public why he criticized the measures before, and accepted them only now, three months after they were proposed,” he said.

Citing the fact that reformative measures are not enough to make the party competitive enough for the upcoming elections, Ahn reiterated the need to hold a national convention.

“The party has conducted the national convention either in January or February ahead of the general election for the last 16 years with no exception. The issue is not the timing but whether the leader has the determination.”

Moon refused to comment about Ahn’s demand.