Determination time

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Determination time

In “Natural Enemies,” Korea’s shortest poem, famous poet Cho Byung-hwa wrote, “After all, my natural enemy was myself.” We hope President Park Geun-hye reminds herself of this work while watching the national tumult that has erupted over a shameful influence-peddling scandal involving the president and her longtime friend Choi Soon-sil. The source of the problem was not Choi but the president, as she nonchalantly handed power to her greedy friend after betraying the voters’ trust in her.

Park’s psychology has not changed much. Regardless of her meetings with veteran politicians and religious leaders to listen to their advice, the meetings are meaningless if she cannot come to grips with the gravity of the situation. Unless she changes her wrong habits and puts an end to her ill-fated connections, she cannot overcome the crisis.

The citizens demand she take action: she must request the ruling and opposition parties to nominate a new bipartisan prime minister, and declare she will step back from the front lines of government when the new prime minister is approved by the National Assembly. At the same time, the president must push her loyalists — accomplices to her dramatic fall from grace — off the political stage. In this way, she can maintain her constitutional position without being embroiled in such predicaments as impeachment, resignation or an early presidential election. The path is backed by many who seek to find solutions within the framework of our Constitution and parliamentary democracy.

But the president thinks otherwise and is dragging her feet despite an increasing number of her supporters, including many of her aides at the Blue House, abandoning her. What is she so attached to? The ruling Saenuri Party’s former Chairman Kim Moo-sung urges the president to take that course. After insisting that her troubled civil affairs secretary remain in office despite many corruption charges facing him, the president faced Choi-Gate, and now she may have to make her third apology after two previous ones.

If the president delays taking that step until after this weekend, it will translate into a death sentence for her presidency. Public outrage is high, as seen in the massive candlelight vigil at Gwanghwamun Square last Saturday attended by thousands of protesters from toddlers to octogenarians. If Park wants to hold onto power, the public uproar will spin out of control. We hope the president steps aside before it’s too late.

JoognAng Ilbo, Nov. 8, Page 30

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