Respect public sentiments

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Respect public sentiments

President Park Geun-hye had made it official. On Sunday, she said she would reject the National Assembly’s recommendation for the dismissal of Kim Jae-soon, newly appointed minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs. Earlier, the president made clear her position at a ministerial-level meeting by expressing regret over the legislature’s motion to kick him out of office “even without meeting the requirements at critical moments like this.”

As President Park pointed out, the opposition’s recommendation for him to step down had problems from the beginning as most of their accusations, including his alleged lower rent fees than average, proved wrong. Even an opposition lawmaker attacked the recommendation for the lack of evidence and called the move “nothing but a political offensive.” A joint effort by the Minjoo Party and People’s Party can be seen as a classic example of obstructing the government for political reasons.

Nevertheless, the president has an obligation to respect a recommendation passed by the legislature. That’s democracy. But the president simply dismissed the recommendation a day after its passage, while underscoring the emergency the country faces now.

Despite opaqueness over the wild rumors and accusations, her remarks seem to refer to sprawling allegations about her inner circle’s alleged corruptions. The nation really faces an emergency after North Korea’s repeated nuclear provocations and the recent earthquakes in Gyeongju.

But then-opposition Grand National Party (predecessor to the current ruling Saenuri Party) ferociously attacked the liberal Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations even amid the unprecedented foreign exchange crisis in 1998 and Pyongyang’s first nuke test in 2006. President Park’s immediate dismissals of widespread suspicions are not appropriate. Her remarks like “an accusation not even worthy of consideration” will only make suspicions bigger.

The National Assembly’s vow for “co-governance” also went up in smoke. Amid a colossal economic crisis, both the ruling and opposition parties have kicked off extreme confrontations after the presidential veto of the recommendation, casting dark clouds over the future of the legislature’s regular audit of the government and countless economy-related bills waiting for passage. The Saenuri Party must withdraw its decision to refuse to participate in legislative sessions. Otherwise, it is no different from the opposition’s habitual outdoor rallies in protest of the government.

JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 26, Page 30
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