Thinking individually

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Thinking individually

These days, the people in Korea care about politicians, but not vice versa. The rare breakthrough the ruling Saenuri Party and opposition Democratic Party have reached after nearly eight months of wrangles and squabbles seems to have given way to another state of limbo. Following extreme statements by DP lawmakers Yang Seung-jo and Jang Ha-na, the ruling party is holding outdoor rallies to denounce the legislators’ brazen negation of the results of last year’s presidential election and insulting remarks about President Park Geun-hye.

The Saenuri Party’s counterattack was led by six of seven incumbent lawmakers representing Chungcheong province, who poured out coarse words to condemn the two DP lawmakers. The ruling party now plans to stage a chain of outdoor rallies led by its local branches all across the country after distributing leaflets and placards.

Outdoor rallies and habitual boycotts of regular National Assembly sessions are a trademark of the opposition. We are dumbfounded that the ruling party is now following in their footsteps.

The parties appear to have switched their roles. DP floor leader Jun Byung-hun earnestly hoped that the bilateral agreement to put the National Assembly back on track would be kept. The DP’s Kim Jin-pyo joked that he wondered if the ruling party people would abandon their homes as they vowed to hold outdoor rallies.

The Saenuri Party is responsible for governing the nation. If the opposition boasts about its combative character, the ruling party must show political leadership. Just because the two lawmakers made inappropriate remarks doesn’t mean the ruling party is authorized to submit a motion - with support from its 155 members - to expel the two from the Assembly.

The party must listen to a comment by Lee Jun-seok, a former member of its emergency committee. “It is not just North Korea that pays attention to what the leader thinks,” he said. “Saenuri lawmakers’ actions in complete unison smells something like totalitarianism.” The ruling party must also pay heed to six-term lawmaker Suh Chung-won, who said, “Individual remarks should be dealt with on the individual level.”

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