The UDP’s hypocrisyWhile the streets are flooded with candlelight, shouting and confusion, the National Assembly stands closed. More than 10 days have passed since the terms of the 18th National Assembly began, but it has not even selected a speaker and deputy speakers.
The Assembly stands closed while truckers go on strike, the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions threatens to launch a general strike, the issue of U.S. beef imports reaches a stalemate and tax rebates to help the working class wait for a revision in laws. There is not much hope for the ratification of the free trade agreement between South Korea and the United States, either. Legislators in the 18th National Assembly should give up their salaries if they abandon their duty to represent the people and make legislations.
The United Democratic Party bears the biggest responsibility for the National Assembly’s current inaction. While the Liberty Forward Party belatedly decided to be present at the Assembly on Monday, the UDP and the Democratic Labor Party still refuse to convene. Some UDP legislators actually wish they could do so. UDP Chairman Sohn Hak-kyu said, “Our legislators want to attend the Assembly.”
They are looking for an excuse to do so.
The LFP decided to convene since its demand for the general resignation of the cabinet was realized, although the demand for the renegotiation of U.S. beef imports had not been accomplished. “Let’s discuss the U.S. beef imports at the National Assembly,” said Lee Hoi-chang, the LFP chairman.
Floor leaders of the Grand National Party and UDP will meet to discuss opening the National Assembly today. The UDP claims that it will attend the Assembly only if the GNP accepts several demands, including revising the law on contagious livestock diseases. The revision will ban all imports of cattle aged over 30 months old. There is a controversy over whether it is right to nullify an international agreement with a domestic law.
All controversies and claims should be discussed at the Assembly. The GNP yesterday suggested forming a joint committee of the governing and opposition parties and the administration to discuss comprehensive issues related to livelihood such as oil prices. Whether it is at the Assembly or in a committee, the governing and opposition parties should communicate with each other. The UDP has harshly criticized the Lee Myung-bak administration for its lack of communication. So why does it refuse to do its job?