A weird coalition, indeedThe main opposition Democratic Party and a number of liberal civilian groups formed an alliance to restore constitutional order and fight for justice after the state agencies’ alleged interference in last year’s presidential election. All the liberal and opposition names were included except the Unified Progressive Party, which is under investigation by the prosecution for its alleged connection with North Korea. Those who formed a joint front to challenge then-ruling party presidential candidate Park Geun-hye and change the governing power before of the December election are all familiar faces. Retired politicians who arranged the alliance between the DP and the UPP were also included.
But they are responsible for paving the way for pro-North Korean activists to enter the legislature and gain legitimate political power. Among the group members is Roh Su-hui, outspoken pro-North Korea activist and vice chairman of the South Korean headquarters of the Pan-Korea Coalition for Reunification of the Motherland, an illegal group. In a press conference to announce the joint opposition alliance last year, Roh stood behind then-DP leader Han Myeong-sook, UPP head Lee Jung-hee and Paik Nak-chung, Seoul National University professor emeritus.
Roh crossed the border and made an unauthorized visit to North Korea to attend a 100-day memorial ceremony for North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, who had died a few months earlier. He openly praised the Pyongyang regime, but none in the opposition sector spoke of it. The UPP instead criticized the government for political oppression for arresting him upon his return.
What kind of a political alliance is this? The senior politicians and scholars must first humbly acknowledge their mistakes and bad judgments and apologize for their part in the mess the UPP has made. Otherwise, their slogan on restoring constitutional order won’t draw any sympathy and support from the public. They will only be sneered at as trying to be in the spotlight and ride the political bandwagon whenever there is a chance.
The behavior of the main opposition party is disappointing. It is forgoing its legitimate role as a political party by joining up with outside forces to reinforce its protest against the government. In other words, it is voluntarily undermining its status and name. We can understand the opposition’s frustration with the slow progress in the prosecution’s investigation of the National Intelligence Service’s role in last year’s election campaign. But it is still immature to gang up on the government by joining together with questionable forces.