Irresponsible words

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Irresponsible words

Opposition Democratic Party lawmaker Jang Ha-na has insisted that President Park Geun-hye step down and called for a presidential by-election. Jang was the first representative to make the public declaration that she will not accept the results of last December’s presidential election.

Jang described the last presidential election as a “coup the government staged by mobilizing the National Intelligence Service and the Cyber Warfare Command under the direct control of the Ministry of National Defense.” Her remarks constitute a brazen negation of the election results and a sheer dismissal of the ongoing judicial process investigating allegations of government organizations’ involvement in the election. Her statement is reminiscent of the coarse rhetoric monopolized by student democratic activists in the 1970s and 1980s. Even though she is a first-term lawmaker and a proportional representative without much political experience, a legislator must not cross certain lines. It is utterly irresponsible for a lawmaker to not accept the results of a democratically held election under the cloak of her privileges as a lawmaker.

With an apparent public backlash in mind, the DP leadership at first distanced itself from Jang’s remarks by calling them an “individual view.” However, 21 first-term lawmakers of the party issued a joint statement supporting Jang. Some even said that she had expressed her own view “according to her conscience” and that her view partly reflects public sentiment.

However, the DP lawmakers’ action went beyond the individual level. Of course, a political party cannot always act in complete unison. But it is time to confirm the opposition’s position on the issue before other members of the party rush to speak out their individual voices one after another. The ruling Saenuri Party appears to harbor suspicions that such alarming reactions are highly calculated political schemes.

To make matters worse, however, Yang Seung-jo, a third-term lawmaker and a member of the DP’s Supreme Council, made very insensitive remarks suggesting Park not follow in the footsteps of her father, former President Park Chung Hee, who was gunned down by his close aide Kim Jae-kyu, former head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency.

Yang said, “The former president could never have foreseen his own assassination despite his iron rule based on reinforced public security and oppression.” Yang’s statement could bring about much stronger ramifications than Jang’s remarks.

The Saenuri Party and the Blue House need to control their knee-jerk offensives. Only then can they avoid another catastrophe after finally breaking the political deadlock between the two parties. And no doubt the ongoing judicial procedure over various suspicions must go on sincerely.

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