[EDITORIALS]April is payback time

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[EDITORIALS]April is payback time

The National Assembly yesterday shamelessly voted down the prosecution’s request to approve the arrest of seven lawmakers. If they had taken seriously the public distrust of politicians, they would not have voted as they did. How can they claim to be representatives of the voters when they are infinitely benign to fellow lawmakers yet push hard for independent counsels and investigations on corruption by the president and government officials?
The outcome was predictable. The National Assembly has opened extra sessions on scores of occasions to prevent the detention of fellow lawmakers despite stinging public criticism. This year alone, since detention warrants were requested against Representative Park Myeong-hwan of the Grand National Party and Representative Park Joo-sun of the Millennium Democratic Party in June, the assembly has been working every day. That was less to take care of welfare issues than to take advantage of parliamentary immunity. They only agreed to vote on the detention warrants because of strong public pressure.
The seven lawmakers face charges of receiving huge bribes in return for excluding a business tycoon from testifying before the National Assembly, lenient tax scrutiny and influence-peddling. One lawmaker allegedly embezzled funds from a private university he founded. Representative Choi Don-woong of the Grand National Party allegedly received 10 billion won ($8.3 million) from SK Group in an underground parking lot, and Representative Chyung Dai-chul of Our Open Party allegedly pocketed 400 million won for helping Goodmorning City Corp. get a construction permit.
The nation’s lawmakers put their interests before accountability to the voters.
And they haven’t done their other jobs. The assembly failed to produce a unified guideline to redraw the nation’s electoral districts, resulting in an unprecedented situation where our electoral districts will become unconstitutional. People will not forget what the assembly members have done and they will vote their anger in April.

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