[FOUNTAIN]Price of denial can be high for politiciansA defeat in politics is far more painful than one in sports. It is not only a defeat of an individual but a loss of group power and the values they pursue. In societies where democratic rules of game were not established, the defeated had to endure a deprivation of values. Because of such experiences and history, it is hard to acknowledge a defeat even in a society with a democratic system. However, the price for denying the defeat is much greater.
President Roh Moo-hyun has met a number of rivals in denial in the process of obtaining a political victory. They had their reasons not to accept the defeat, but the voters scorned the denial itself more than the reasons. The rivals had to pay a harsh price for not acknowledging the defeat, and President Roh certainly enjoyed relative benefit from the situation
After the Millennium Democratic Party primary in 2002, the lawmaker Rhee In-je did not accepted the fact that he had lost to Mr. Roh. He insisted that the primary was not fair. But Mr. Rhee’s withdrawal from the party made him look as if he denied the primary results. After the incident, Mr. Rhee’s political position was damaged.
A day before the presidential election, the lawmaker Chung Mon-joon declared that he would withdrawal his support for Mr. Roh. He claimed that Mr. Roh was not trustworthy. But Mr. Chung’s behavior seemed to be a renunciation of an agreement, and his political presence vanished afterwards. It seemed at first that Mr. Roh was critically damaged, but his supporters effectively made him president.
The impeachment bill against President Roh passed the National Assembly in February with more than two-thirds of the attending lawmakers’ consent, but many citizens thought that the politicians supporting the impeachment bill were rebelling against the presidential election results. They sent a message in the April elections.
It seems as if Koreans have mutually agreed that those who do not accept a decision must pay. President Roh must have felt the prevailing sentiment instinctively.
President Roh had put his fate on the capital relocation plan, but the project has been halted by a Constitutional Court ruling. He seems to find it hard to accept the decision of the court. Even if he is uncomfortable, I hope he does not deny the decision. He might have to pay the same price as his rivals.
by Chun Young-gi
The writer is a deputy political news editor of the JoongAng Ilbo.
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