NPAD leader makes case against UPP dissolution

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NPAD leader makes case against UPP dissolution

An opposition party leader expressed his objection on Wednesday to the dissolution of a splinter leftist party ahead of the Constitutional Court’s scheduled ruling on a case brought by the government.

The government petitioned the court to disband the party last year on the back of allegations that key members of the minor opposition Unified Progressive Party (UPP) had conspired to overthrow the state. The Constitutional Court is in the final phase of drawing out its judgment on the case following a yearlong deliberation.

During a meeting of senior party leaders at the National Assembly, Moon Hee-sang, the interim leader of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD), expressed his opposition to dissolving the UPP, citing the constitutionally guaranteed right of freedom of expression, which includes license to criticize the government.

“I do not support any of the policy doctrines by the UPP. I think Rep. Lee Seok-ki’s remarks are so out of common sense,” the veteran lawmaker said, referring to one of the UPP’s key members who was accused of being a North Korean sympathizer.

In his argument, he added that the right to criticize, political freedom as well as the freedom of the press and expression were integral elements to human dignity.

Representative Moon, who will lead Korea’s second-largest party until a general convention in February, went on to criticize the decision by the Park Geun-hye government to ask the Constitutional Court to disband the UPP, which commands the loyalty of five lawmakers.

“Far from realizing its campaign promise of uniting the nation, the Park government is branding everyone who is against its policy as an enemy,” he said. “People should not divide others from them just because they have different opinions about democracy.”

Moon’s case against disbanding the UPP came a day after he met with senior leaders who represent liberal civic and religious groups in the country, who had asked him to do his part to try to prevent the minority party from being dissolved in a highly anticipated court ruling.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr ]

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