High time to leave, Mr. Lee

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High time to leave, Mr. Lee

When pressured to leave the Unified Progressive Party, Representative Lee Seok-gi, a leader of the largest pro-North Korean faction of the embattled party, refused by insisting that if he yielded to the pressure, the entire party would collapse. We believe it is high time for him to depart, because all the sophistry, mean tactics, lies and flip-flops he gladly took advantage of for the sole purpose of keeping his seat at the new National Assembly will also vanish from the political scene.

Lee is a living symbol of how disgusting a politician can be, leaping onto the political stage only after a massively rigged primary to pick proportional representatives of the party. Especially him. Using an odd term - an “ill-managed primary” - Lee vowed to take responsibility for the hanky-panky depending on the results of a second investigation by a truth-finding committee. Yet he refuses to resign even after the committee came up with the conclusion that the primary was rigged both at polling stations and online.

When reporters asked, “Does that mean you won’t step down even after reading the second investigation report?” he put on his signature mysterious smile, contending the investigation lacked objectivity. However, the report was adopted by an overwhelming margin - eight versus two - by committee members comprised of both pro-Lee and pro-Kang Ki-kab forces. Kang is the incumbent leader of the party’s emergency council led by a smaller faction.

Moreover, Kim Dong-han, head of the truth-finding committee and a member of the pro-Lee faction, abruptly resigned from his post after his committee came up with a hostile conclusion in what amounts to a classic example of cowardice.

Even seasoned politicians marvel at Lee’s unrivaled sophistry and swallowing of his own words. When Kang demanded Lee resign from his seat, Lee responded by saying, “You are trapped by the ruling Saenuri Party’s scheme for the December presidential election. If I fall, all of us fall, one after another.”

We don’t think so. If Lee collapses, only he does. When he disappears from the political scene, the UPP can throw off its bad image as a pro-North party and the main opposition Democratic United Party can seek better integration of the opposition camp. If we borrow his words, the opposition can free itself from the ruling party’s strategy only when he steps down.

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