UDP gets upside downA month has passed since the start of the term of the 18th National Assembly. Although the nation is in a state of emergency, the doors of the Assembly are closed. It is because the United Democratic Party has refused to attend the Assembly. During a time of national crisis, the main opposition party, the UDP, is wandering without a compass. The leaders were out at the demonstrations in front of City Hall to take advantage of the candlelight vigils but returned without much gain. Several lawmakers took the lead in the illegal protests which took over Sejongno. Cheon Jung-bae, a former party floor leader, former justice minister and a four-term lawmaker, even gave a speech atop a sand tower put up by the demonstrators to attack a police bus. Ahn Gwangju Min-suk was in a heated debate with the police while in the front line of the illegal rally. Party floor leader Won Hye-young, who should be dealing with attendance at the Assembly, is holding a one-man protest criticizing the police for suppressing the demonstration. A large number of lawmakers held a meeting censuring the police and participated in the vigils.
The legislative branch should be making laws, with the administration enforcing the law and the judiciary protecting the law. However, the legislators, including the UDP, have undermined the law against violence toward the administration and the press by taking over the roads. How can we call them lawmakers when they are defying the administration enforcing laws that they have made? The demonstrators are indulging in violence and the UDP formed a national organization to protect them. Is the UDP a party for illegal forces? Can this UDP say it will participate in the sacred act of creating new laws? If they are to protect the illegal rather than the legal, they should leave the Assembly.
Since the Grand National Party has requested that a special group for the beef issue be organized, the UDP can return to the Assembly and seek an alternative plan for the administration. Oil and resource prices are rising, the trade balance is in deficit and the public welfare is in crisis due to economic stagnation. But the UDP, which calls itself a party for the middle class and the common people, is standing in front of the illegal violent demonstration.
If the UDP thinks it is remembered as part of the Gwangju democracy movement of 1980 or the demonstrations for direct elections in 1987, it has miscalculated. Back then, there was a clear reason and national support, but today’s violent demonstrations have no reason or support. The UDP, which lost in the presidential election and the general election, is endangering its future.