The honorary chairman of the Democratic Party of Korea’s Innovation Committee, Ikkyung Lee, resigned on Friday. Controversy erupted over his remarks about the Cheonan self-destruction. Although President Lee Jae-myung, who personally appointed Lee스포츠토토, said he would “look for another chairman,” the party’s infighting is set to intensify. Some in the non-Lee Jae-myung circles are accusing Lee of pushing for too many appointments to form a “pro-Lee innovation committee,” fueling the “Lee Jae-myung blame” theory.
“As a citizen, I decided to take on the responsibility of the Innovation Organization with the determination to help open up a new future for Korea through the transformation of the Democratic Party,” Lee said in a statement this evening. “However, I am deeply disappointed that Sain’s judgment and opinions have become the subject of a witch-hunt-style political campaign.”
“It is my personal opinion that this is a case that encapsulates the current situation of Korean society,” he said, “and since the continuation of the controversy is a burden on the ruling Democratic Party, I would like to decline the position of head of the innovation organization.” Lee’s resignation came just nine hours after the Democratic Party announced his nomination to head the innovation committee.
The Democratic Party quickly accepted Lee’s resignation. However, the controversy within the party continues, especially from the vocal opposition, which has criticized Lee for trying to form a “pro-myung innovation committee” since the announcement of Lee’s appointment. They argue that the process of forming the innovation committee and the criteria for appointment should be transparently disclosed.
Democratic Party of Korea lawmaker Lee Sang-min, a senior member of the party’s minority faction, criticized the appointment of Lee as a wrong decision from the start. He said, “A person who supported Lee Jae-myung was nominated (to head the innovation committee). How can this be an alternative to overcome the flaws and limitations of Lee Jae-myung’s system?” he asked. Lee urged the party leadership to reveal the circumstances of the selection, saying, “The innovation chairperson is supposed to present a new alternative based on the problems of the leadership system.”
“The problem is that he (Lee Jae-myung) was trying to create a ‘pro-Myung leadership duo’ from the beginning,” said a Democratic Party member from Gyeonggi-do. “If he (Lee) was chosen from among many outsiders, it means that there were no criteria for his appointment from the beginning, or it was weak.”
Democratic Party lawmaker Hong Young-pyo, a non-party member, also said on Facebook on the same day, “Delegating the power to create innovation proposals to the chairman of the innovation committee is intended to allow outsiders to diagnose the party from a neutral and sober perspective and find solutions.” He emphasized that “a person with expertise, neutrality, democracy, and the ability to coordinate integration should be appointed, not a person who is absolutely biased toward one side.”
Given that there is already a “quid pro quo risk” in the political arena, the appointment of the next Innovation Commissioner is likely to be challenging. Not only will it be difficult to find candidates from outside the country, but it will also take a lot of time to verify the candidate’s past statements, career, and personality. Moreover, there are mixed views that if Lee is unsuccessful in his appointment, not only the Innovation Council but also the entire existence of the “Lee Jae-myung system” could be jeopardized.
“(In the case of Chairman Lee), he was able to confidently say that he would give Lee Jae-myung ‘full power’ because he is a pro-Myung person,” said Choi Chang-ryul, a special professor at Yongin University. “The Innovation Committee is supposed to play a role in sealing the party ahead of the general election, but looking at the appointment process revealed this time, there is a possibility that the Innovation Committee will actually increase the conflict.”
Meanwhile, Lee met with reporters on the same day and said, “I have decided to respect his will,” in response to Lee’s resignation, adding, “I will look for competent and trustworthy people by referring to the opinions around me.” Lee did not answer questions such as whether there was a lack of consensus and whether he would appoint an outside person next time. The Democratic Party plans to start searching again for an innovation commissioner on June 6.