[OUTLOOK]Constitution must be guardedThe Millennium Democratic Party, together with the Grand National Party, has introduced a motion to impeach President Roh Moo-hyun, for the first time in Korean history. It was not without painstaking deliberation that we had come to such a decision. We also knew that there would be some people who would oppose the motion.
However, as a political party that comprises an axis of our nation’s governance, we could not idly watch the imminent peril our country had fallen into. It is frustrating, even miserable, to witness how the president is bypassing our people and the National Assembly with an imperialistic arrogance in his obsession with the election campaign activities of a particular political party.
Our economy is falling into a difficult situation and the livelihood of the people is deteriorating daily, but President Roh has reached the limit of his governance capabilities.
Moreover, the president has openly challenged the decision by the National Election Commission that he had breached election laws. The president called the decision “incomprehensible.” Such disrespect of authority is highly inappropriate for the president and can only mean that he has already forsaken the dignity of his position. How can we continue for another four years in this manner?
We, the Millennium Democratic Party, believe that impeaching President Roh Moo-hyun would be the “reform of reforms” that would help overcome this current national crisis, re-establish stability in society and save the economy.
The decision to call for the president’s impeachment came out of a collective mental anguish, born from our sense of responsibility that we could no longer leave this crisis as it is.
There are three major reasons why we have decided to motion for impeachment.
First, the president is throwing our legal system into confusion. At a Feb. 18 news conference, President Roh tried to shore up support for a particular political party by threatening the public. He said, “If we do not meet the minimum number of National Assembly members needed to fight against amendments to the constitution, even I cannot tell you what will happen.”
A few days later, he violated election laws more blatantly in a journalists’ debate that was broadcast live. “I hope the people give their overwhelming support to Our Open Party in this general election,” the president said.
These statements violate Article 9 of the Election Commission Act providing for the political neutrality of public officials as well as several other articles of the same act regulating pre-election activities.
Second, the corruption allegations surrounding his close aides have undermined the ethical foundation of this government. Choi Do-sul, Yang Gil-seung, Ahn Hee-jung, Lee Kwang-jae and Yeo Taek-su are some of the Blue House officials and presidential aides who have been investigated and charged with receiving illegal funds and bribes disguised as campaign funds and congratulatory gifts to President-elect Roh Moo-hyun.
Also, the prosecution’s probe has alleged that President Roh was personally involved in the corrupt deeds of his aides. The president has completely lost any legal or moral grounds to stay in office.
Third, President Roh has devastated the economy and caused more suffering than the 1997-98 financial crisis. The president’s repeated slips of tongue, such as his rash remark about how he felt inept as president; the confusion in policies concerning the dispatch of troops to Iraq; his unconstitutional request for a referendum on his administration; and the “all-in” strategy of garnering as many seats in this lesgislative elections as possible.
The Millennium Democratic Party had repeatedly requested and appealed to the president to concentrate his efforts only on the stability of our country and the unity of our society.
Unfortunately, President Roh has refused to change. Under these circumstances, the Millennium Democratic Party and the Grand National Party were compelled to protect the constitution and the rule of law from the arbitrary and imperialistic exercise of authority by President Roh.
* The writer is the floor leader of the Millennium Democratic Party. Translation by the JoongAng Daily staff.
by Yoo Yong-tae