[EDITORIALS]Populism returns in force

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[EDITORIALS]Populism returns in force

The strife within the political arena over the alleged draft dodging by the son of the Grand National Party presidential candidate, Lee Hoi-chang, has turned into a matter of political life or death. The Millennium Democratic Party announced that starting on Monday it will start a campaign to collect the signatures of more than 10 million people on a petition for an in-depth investigation into the matter. The Grand National Party has called its opponent's move "malicious Lee Hoi-chang bashing" and threatened to answer with a campaign to bury the present administration for good and to motion for the impeachment of President Kim Dae-jung.

The two parties' ridiculous threats have left the public completely depressed and disgusted. Villages have been flooded for more than a week, leaving numerous people without a home and yet those who should be providing the emergency relief measures are busy slinging mud at one another.

One of the petition items in the signature campaign that the Millennium Democratic Party intends to carry out protests the Grand National Party's alleged threat against the prosecution. This is quite ironic in that the petition signing itself is intended to mobilize the public to threaten the prosecution. This is a deja vu of the "populism politics" that the party had often used in the past when it called for the support of certain civic groups to boast its prowess.

There is also the calculation of shifting the public's disappointment in the fast-disintegrating party to the opposition camp. The Millennium Democrats would do better to just watch the proceedings of the prosecution quietly without calling on such desperate measures to dramatize the draft dodging allegations at the risk of being accused of illegal election campaigning.

The Grand National Party's reaction to the announcement of threats to dismantle the administration was also overdone. Such reckless usage of extreme anti-government threats was imprudent. Instead of accusing the prosecution team of being a "political prosecution," it should wait calmly for the results of the investigations.

Such behavior from the political community makes demands to declare the flooded villages a disaster area look insincere, a reluctant effort to pacify the public.

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