[EDITORIALS]Impeachment Talk Is NonsenseThe political situation is deteriorating again; lawmakers of the Grand National Party are rumbling about impeachment proceedings against President Kim Dae-jung. Impeachment is an extreme measure, the ouster of the president, as in the case of Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid. Political confrontation is at a fever pitch; naturally enough, the ruling party forcefully rejected any idea of impeachment.
The grounds for President Kim's impeachment cited by Grand National Party floor leader Lee Jae-oh included the sudden increase in the national debt and unemployment, the politicization of North-South relations and the suppression of the press under the pretext of a tax investigation. Those issues are not new, and it is going too far to try to solve them through impeachment, even though popular support for the current administration has hit rock bottom and the public sympathizes with the grounds for impeachment. Impeachment is a deadly solution that could result in the suspension of constitutional government and would subject the people to political confusion. The economy would probably worsen, North-South relations would deteriorate and irreversible splits in national opinion could occur.
And, of course, the impeachment threat is politically motivated. The opposition party suspects that there will be audits and inspections of political organizations after the media tax investigations are over. But the opposition is also open to strong criticism by suggesting such a drastic measure to head off that possibility. The Grand National Party has the largest number of seats in the legislature; it must also think about what it did or did not do to keep things from coming to this point. The Millennium Democratic Party does not want to hear the word "impeachment," but it should not deal emotionally with the opposition. It should think things through and find solutions.
The Grand National Party is testing public opinion by saying Mr. Lee was expressing his personal opinion. It should stick with its leader's position that reforms should be pursued within the framework of constitutionalism no matter how noble the objectives of the reforms are or how deep the moral obligation to pursue them might be. Talk about impeachment should end.