[EDITORIALS]Vote on impeachment bill a mustWe earnestly asked Mr. Roh to apologize for his election law violation and to withdraw his remark that illegal money his camp had taken during the presidential election did not exceed 10 percent of that given to the opposition. We made the request for the stability and future of our country.
We also encouraged the opposition parties to accept Mr. Roh’s apology should he provide it and break through the deadlock to ease the people’s extreme concerns.
But the situation is disappointing. Mr. Roh said, “The National Election Commission’s decision was just a simple expression of its opinion,” declining to apologize because he had not committed a violation. The election watchdog told reporters on March 3 that six of its members agreed that Mr. Roh had violated the election law’s Article 9, while two disagreed. Mr. Roh’s claim is belated. The opposition parties are not recognizing Mr. Roh’s argument.
Lawmakers seem to have no will to compromise now. The only way to prevent a further waste of our nation’s energy and more confusion is to vote on the motion at the National Assembly and for both the ruling and opposition parties to accept the outcome. Whether the motion is passed or not, that will give us a chance for a fresh start.
It is undeniably wrong that Our Open Party has been physically blocking the voting at the Assembly since Wednesday as the countdown began. The party repeatedly said its goal is political reform, but it is repeating the bad practices of the past. The party seems to think that the crisis will end if lawmakers fail to vote on the motion before the deadline today, which would cause the bill to die automatically. But that is simply wrong thinking. The opposition parties will not stop there. They may hold a new extra session of the Assembly and submit a new impeachment motion. Will Our Open Party forcibly block voting again? Until when does it think it can do that?
Mr. Roh said he would consider the legislative election outcome a vote of confidence on his administration. The opposition parties are already objecting, saying, “That is another remark that fails to maintain public neutrality and an unconstitutional decision which can be additional grounds for impeachment.”
The opposition parties have warned that they will declare Mr. Roh “politically impeached” if the vote fails to take place because Our Open Party blocked it. Opposition lawmakers are saying they will no longer recognize Mr. Roh as president. We must think where our country is headed. The aftermath will likely continue far beyond the legislative election ― possibly throughout the remaining four years of Mr. Roh’s term. Our country’s economy, foreign affairs and security cannot afford such a luxury.
This crisis is extremely deplorable. But the impeachment process is legitimate under the constitution, and we must not say it should not be carried out just because of the current chaos.
If the impeachment bill is voted down, the situation will end there. If it passes, Mr. Roh and Our Open Party will still have another chance. The Constitutional Court will review the impeachment after the voting. It will be determined if Mr. Roh violated the constitution and other laws while performing his duty.
We want to make it clear that we still want a last-minute breakthrough of this serious political standstill. No one in this country wants an ultimate crisis with no way out.