Crossing the red line

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Crossing the red line

Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun of the Saenuri Party, who is a key confidant of President Park Geun-hye, discussed ousting party leader Kim Moo-sung in an intoxicated phone call on Feb. 27 to an unidentified person. He vehemently criticized the party chairman and pledged to “pluck” him out and push him out of nomination.

It was the same day the media reported that Kim met with Rep. Chung Doo-un of the same party, telling him that a core member of the faction loyal to the president had relayed the president’s wish of dropping about 40 active lawmakers from nomination for the April general election.

Yoon is considered to be one of the closest to the president, even addressing her as “big sister.” He might have been enraged about Kim’s whistle-blowing that placed the president and the faction loyal to her in an unfavorable light. His comment was made in a drunken state and could have been wiretapped. He is free to dislike the party head and be critical of him, but his behavior and comments raise questions about whether he is qualified to represent the people in the legislature.

Yoon’s fiery tirade suggests how deep the fissures are between the factions loyal to the president and those who are not. The divide is not based on simple resentment, but on strong hostility. If there was a power to exclude the party head in nomination, how can we believe whether the ongoing nomination review at the Saenuri Party is being conducted fairly and transparently?

Both the ruling and opposition camps are having trouble with nominations. Yoon’s outburst came out on the heels of reports about the so-called hit list in the Saenuri Party. It is disheartening to learn of the dirty and cruel power struggle in the ruling party. Instead of damage control, both factions are vehemently attacking one another.

The party must investigate the incident thoroughly and offer explanations to the public. It must reveal who Yoon was talking to on the phone and what influential position he or she was in to be capable of stripping the elected party leader of power. It also must explain whether there was any truth in the conversation.

Yoon, meanwhile, should take responsibility for causing such an uproar. From his salvo, he seems to bear strong hatred toward the party head to the extent that the two should not be on the same side. Since Kim as the head cannot leave the party, Yoon should. He claims the exposure is a plot against him. Whether it is or not, he is clearly unqualified to the represent the people.

JoongAng Ilbo, March 10, Page 30

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