A frivolous political move

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A frivolous political move

The decision by Rep. Kim Tae-ho, a member of the powerful Supreme Council of the ruling Saenuri Party, to resign from his post is irresponsible and has no justifiable rationale.

He criticized the National Assembly, claiming lawmakers have been bent on dividing the nation by stirring up controversy about a possible constitutional revision, despite President Park Geun-hye’s pleas to focus on economic recovery. The former South Gyeongsang governor said he made the decision to step down to express his regrets over the ruling party’s internal schism.

But Rep. Kim’s decision was wrong. If he really wanted to protest the legislature’s incompetence, he should have abandoned his seat at the Assembly, not his senior post at the Supreme Council. Also, his criticism against raising the subject of a constitutional amendment is targeted at Saenuri Party Chairman Kim Moo-sung, who brought it up while he was in Shanghai as the president attended the Asia-Europe Meeting in Milan. President Park is against an amendment because she firmly believes it is time to concentrate national energy on rejuvenating the lackluster economy.

Chairman Kim has been under attack for his imprudence, which he admitted to after making those remarks. But if Rep. Kim really wants to make light of the chairman’s maverick attitude and persuade him to change his mind, he would do better to work hard as a top party official. His perception of membership in the Supreme Council as a “vested right,” not as a service for the party, is indicative of his arrogance.

The Saenuri Party held a heated primary to select its new leadership in July and conducted a popularity survey among citizens with no party affiliations. Rep. Kim appealed for votes and came in third. Without any reasonable grounds, though, he resigned from his senior post after just three months. Under the Lee Myung-bak administration, he was nominated as prime minister, but controversy arose over his suspicious connections with lobbyist Park Yeon-cha, the entrepreneur at the center of a bribery scandal involving former President Roh Moo-hyun. Rep. Kim claimed he never met Park, but after it was revealed that he had actually played golf with Park and his two deputy governors in 2006, Rep. Kim withdrew his nomination.

Last July, Saenuri Party members and the public gave him another chance to serve as a politician. But he has failed once again to meet society’s expectations, adding more dirt to Korean politics, which is filled with frivolity.

JoongAng Ilbo, Oct. 24, Page 34

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