Monopoly on justice

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Monopoly on justice

The author is the head of the national team of the JoongAng Ilbo.

The winners and losers are out. Some shout for joy while others shed tears of regret. The candidates who fought for votes will go back to their places, either with a gold badge as a member of the National Assembly or without one.

The April 15 parliamentary elections were the most bizarre ones incomparable to any others. With the Covid-19 outbreak, election campaigns could not be held properly. Due to the gravity of the situation, the government’s disease control overwhelmed election issues. Parties, policies and candidates were all missing. The proportional representation system was hard to understand, and voters received the most mail and longest ballot ever.

Meanwhile, the election front became diversified. As the election command became weaker, small-scale local battles were hard fought. All kinds of vulgar remarks and unique internal battles in parties and factions appeared, including over Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl. In previous elections, the office of prosecutors and prosecutor general were taboo words for candidates. If they were being searched and seized or received any attention from prosecutors, their election prospects darkened.

But in this election, many pro-ruling party candidates posed as protectors for former Justice Minister Cho Kuk and attacked Prosecutor General Yoon. Not to mention various allegations were raised involving his mother-in-law, and there were wild rumors that Yoon would be indicted if a new law enforcement agency for senior officials is established after the general elections. I am experiencing a world in which politicians openly threaten the prosecutor general. In reaction, the opposition United Future Party, which suffered from investigations on long-standing corruption and power abuse from the previous administration, focused on defending Yoon in its election campaign.

The ruling party’s offensives are mockery and sarcasm based on threats. The dignity of politicians was hard to find. What is the ground for making such remarks without hesitation? I think it is the sense of monopoly, believing only they are just and patriotic. Believing that the prosecutor is not on the same track with the administration, the ruling party treated the prosecutor general — who has been appointed by the administration — as a criminal.

In November 2015, President Moon Jae-in attended the funeral of former president Kim Young-sam. Reflecting on Kim’s democratic movement, Moon recalled Kim had said Park Chung Hee should not monopolize patriotism. Looking at former president Park Geun-hye, what I realized was that she suspected patriotism and a sense of justice from others. Are there any lawmakers in the ruling party, who try to monopolize patriotism and justice as Park Chung Hee and Park Geun-hye did? Newly elected people must think about it if they want to achieve social integration after the election.
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