[INSIGHT]‘A coup without a gunshot’

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[INSIGHT]‘A coup without a gunshot’

March 9 will be recorded as the worst day, when the National Assembly denied its own existence. This was the day the Assembly denied the president elected by the people, and a shameful day when it denied democracy.
The Grand National Party and Millennium Democratic Party officially declared their disobedience to the 2002 presidential election. In a word, they revealed their intention to not acknowledge the president. This showed their intention to drive the country into catastrophe with “emotional politics” that detests and hates the president.
Armed with the majority of seats in the Assembly and without any justifiable reasons, they conducted a “military coup without a gunshot.” I am aghast that they even considered adopting a resolution to release jailed lawmakers involved in the corruption scandal to have a quorum for the impeachment.
How will history record this moment? Even the fact that I was on the spot is a disgrace and pain. I was really miserable to hear the news that the impeachment resolution was submitted. I have never been so sad since I became a lawmaker. Such terms as indignation and resentment are inadequate to explain how I feel now. I am unbearably insulted by the attempt to reverse the clock of democracy.
I recall the conspiracy of a rebellion by the military dictatorship in 1980 as it declared martial law across the country. The “dark shadow” of the military that trampled “democracy” is resurrected again in 2004 and is besieging the National Assembly.
I’d like to ask the Grand National Party and Millennium Democratic Party if they have ever thought about where the Republic of Korea will be headed after the president is impeached? Are they deeply concerned about the future of the country? Will there be really no problems if the prime minister acts for him, as some argue?
The impeachment move is a national disaster. Internationally, it is tantamount to the declaration of a national moratorium. Obviously, our international credit standing will drop and Korea will become a third-rate country. Impeachment will ruin the people’s living. It will kill the economy, which is just beginning to recover.
If the two parties care for the country and the people at all, they cannot behave so irresponsibly. Their impeachment resolution is a proposal for national calamity. They should not hold the country and the people hostage to their political gamble. The leadership of the two parties said, “We may not submit the impeachment resolution if the president apologizes.” I am just shocked at the idea that they can bring misfortune on the country to get the president’s apology.
I know that the Millennium Democratic Party is acutely aware of the decline in its support. It may risk being reduced to a minority party at any moment. But the party, then, should be calm and cool-headed. It should not desperately drive politics to the extreme.
It should understand why people have turned away from it and approach the people with a humble attitude. If the party thinks it can increase its support through brinkmanship politics, about which the people are nervous, that is a typical example of old-fashioned politics that ignores and insults the people.
I appeal to the learned representatives of the Grand National Party and Millennium Democratic Party. To approve the impeachment resolution is to compromise with injustice. There are principles in politics that must be observed. There should be common sense and magnanimity. Keeping silent here is a sin. Siding with the resolution will leave an inerasable stigma on the political life of each representative.
Our Open Party will fight to maintain history and justice. We will fight by any means to protect the constitutional order and preserve democracy together with all the people who are worried about the future of the Republic of Korea.
I believe the people will not forgive the Grand National Party and the Millennium Democratic Party for their irresponsible pursuit of political tactics and attempt to destroy the country.

* The writer is the floor leader of Our Open Party. Translation by the JoongAng Daily staff.

by Kim Keun-tae
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