For the future of the legislatureThe scandal-ridden splinter opposition Unified Progressive Party could begin legislative activities when the 19th National Assembly formerly opens on May 30 without resolving the feud over vote rigging. The two proportional representatives from the party who refuse to yield their positions, despite findings pointing to foul play, would also start their four-year term and represent the people. The internal problems of the party could now directly affect the legislature.
The UPP is mired in crisis because the mainstream faction culpable of election fraud and violence refuses to accept the decision to have all proportional representatives and leaders resign from the emergency council. Those who have committed irregularities have no cause to resist the majority decision from the party. They basically deny involvement in rigging the election. But an objective investigation team discovered across-the-board election irregularities. The mainstream faction, nevertheless, insists it has been framed by a rivaling faction, politicians and the conservative press.
The controversy-ridden proportional representatives would become members of the Assembly if they refuse to give up their rights. There are no legal regulations to strip them of their positions because the vote rigging was committed in a party primary. The current law does not interfere with party elections to guarantee “liberty in political activities.”
There is no other way to stop the candidates with ethical questions from representing the people than to pressure them to voluntarily step down. It is what the party’s central steering committee and emergency council has repeatedly called upon. But the members remain recalcitrant to attain the dissident faction’s ultimate goal of entering the Assembly.
But they can hardly be considered representatives of the people. In a recent poll by the JoongAng Ilbo, 76.3 percent of respondents demanded their resignation, with just 16.1 percent agreeing with their resistance. The approval rating of the UPP that gained 10.3 percent of the vote from the April 11 legislative election slumped to 4.1 percent. As Kang Ki-kab, the interim leader of the party pointed out, the faction would bring down the progressive party as well as the broad liberal camp.
A party and politicians without the support of the people cannot gain legitimacy even if they can get around the law. We sincerely urge the candidates to bow out for the future of their party and legislature.