Get back to business in YeouidoDespite the Democratic Party’s somewhat reasonable arguments, Koreans have reacted unfavorably to the opposition’s rallies in front of Seoul City Hall. In a Korea Gallup poll conducted in early August, 54 percent of 1,200 respondents disapproved of the party’s rallies, while 30 percent approved. In a survey by the same group last week, the gap was wider, with 61 percent opposed and only 15 percent supporting them.
Yet DP Chairman Kim Han-gill has defied the growing antipathy toward the party’s drastic departure from normal politics with a vow to stage more and bigger ones during the five-day Chuseok holiday. Why does he try to resist public sentiment? The DP floor leader, Jun Byung-hun, also has criticized President Park Geun-hye for a “critical lack of communication abilities.” His argument, also, is only half true.
At family gatherings during the holiday, people will surely lash out at the opposition’s habitual resort to outdoor rallies when its demands are not met. Such off-track politics cannot be allowed any longer. Kim and his party called for an apology by the president for the National Intelligence Service’s alleged meddling in the December presidential election and demanded that she meet with them. The Blue House accepted the latter’s demand, so a three-way meeting among the president and heads of the ruling and opposition parties was held Monday to fully air their disparate views on contemporary political issues. Such a frank platform can serve as fertile ground for upgraded politics.
The opposition leader seems to be frustrated by the absence of a presidential apology for the spy agency’s alleged intervention. In practical terms, however, DP strategists are ignoring - willingly or unwillingly - the president’s pledge to reform the NIS. Of course, the opposition may not be content with Park’s idea of letting the spy agency reinvent itself. But the DP must take note of the president’s promise to have the National Assembly discuss an NIS reform bill after the agency prepares one and sends it to the legislature. The opposition party must concentrate on devising its own ideas for reform rather than wasting its energy on outdoor politics.
If Kim is still dissatisfied with the summit results, he could listen to popular assessments of what he has been doing for the last seven weeks. If he folds up the tents in the plaza after that, it won’t be too late. We hope he will not be shaken by the liberal camp’s criticism that he has gained nothing if he quits now. It’s time to go back to the assembly before it’s too late.
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