Politics way off track

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Politics way off track

The ruling Democratic Party (DP) at last took action to strip the prosecution of its investigation authority entirely. Rep. Park Hong-keun, floor leader of the DP, has submitted a letter to the Legislation and Judiciary Committee of the National Assembly to set up a subcommittee to deal with the explosive issue followed by a request for a full vote to National Assembly speaker Park Byeong-seug soon. Earlier, the DP ordered Rep. Min Hyung-bae, a DP member of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee, to replace an independent in the subcommittee to expedite the passage of two revisions to the Prosecution Act and the Criminal Procedure Act.

The DP already transferred Rep. Kim Jin-pyo, 75, a five-term lawmaker of the party and a member of the National Defense Committee, to the Legislation and Judiciary Committee to meet the requirements that the oldest member of lawmakers head the subcommittee. After passing the revisions by using its majority in the Legislation and Judiciary Committee, the DP currently holding 172 seats in the 300-member legislature is poised to put the revisions to a full vote in April before the new conservative administration is launched on May 10. Even if the current opposition People Power Party (PPP) tries to block the move with filibuster, the DP can pass the revisions by exploiting the National Assembly Act that allows any bills to be put to a voting if a legislative session is split into two or more to avoid an endless filibuster.

Even DP lawmakers oppose the contentious revisions. Rep. Yang Hyang-ja, a current independent and former DP member of the judiciary committee, lamented the revisions after looking into them overnight at the request of the DP to help with the passage. Rep. Park Yong-jin, a former presidential candidate of the DP, criticized the party for not learning any lessons after its defeat in the March 9 presidential election.

Despite repeated internal warnings, the DP leadership and hard-liners are pushing the revisions largely because of their fear about the President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol’s possible revenge for the DP’s stifling oppression of the prosecution when he as prosecutor general dug up dirt on the ruling forces. If the DP does not deprive the prosecution of its investigative rights, at least 20 can be put behind the bars. They are afraid. So, should the top law enforcement agency stop probing into their apparent wrongdoings? People will watch closely how the DP will behave from now.

The DP’s self-justified crusade to get rid of prosecutors’ investigative rights was largely affected by hard-liners in the party and their supporters. If lawmakers express their opposition to the revisions, the loyalists have been attacking them vehemently. Politics being swayed by extremists is not good politics.
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