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Opposition blames prime minister’s resignation

Posted April. 28, 2014 07:40,   


One hour after Prime Minister Chung Hong-won offered to resign at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, Co-chairmen of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy Ahn Chul-soo and Kim Han-gil held a press conference. Ahn denounced the prime minister’s resignation as “a clearly irresponsible act and cowardly evasion” and questioned “if a confirmation hearing really has to be held at the National Assembly at this point.” Kim also criticized the decision by saying, “I can’t agree that the prime minister’s stepping down is really an act of responsibility for the Korean people.”

Given that the opposition party had urged the Cabinet including the prime minister to take responsibility for the accident, their denouncement on the prime minister’s resignation as “cowardly evasion” seems inconsistent. Before the press conference, many in the NPAD actually demanded the resignation of Cabinet including the prime minster along with the apology from the president and judicial action against the ministers of the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries and the Security and Public Administration and the head of Korea Coast Guard. However, the prime minister’s early announcement dampened such atmosphere within the party. If the prime minister had not offered to resign then, the opposition must have called for his resignation. Prior to the June 4 local elections, both the ruling and opposition parties have been busy calculating right timings for actions rather than sincerely concerning over state affairs.

In this regard, Co-chairman Ahn’s commitment that the party will “process current issues including the bills related to people’s livelihood as soon as possible during the April session” is remarkable. In the case of the Science, ICT, Future Planning, Broadcasting and Communications Committee, the opposition parties, based on the National Assembly Advancement Act, have been interrupting the passing of 127 bills related to people’s livelihood that the ruling and opposition parties had already reached an agreement on, such as nuclear safety, corruption prevention, prevention of personal information leaks and reduction of communications charge through improvement of handset distribution system. Practically, there is not much for the president to do without the cooperation of the legislature. If the opposition parties truly reflect on having dealt with the bills only in the interest of parties, they have to pass the bills that are directly related to people’s livelihood.

Co-chairman Kim said, “Understanding the sufferings of parents who lost their children, the ruling and opposition parties and the Park Geun-hye administration should join forces and strive to build a safe Korea.” Hearing from the head of the opposition party that “the ruling and opposition parties should join forces” must be welcoming news. As Kim said, there can’t be any division among the ruling and opposition parties and the administration in building a safe Korea. It is time for the political circle as a whole to think about what is true public welfare.

Because all the Korean people mourn for the deceased in deep sorrow, it will take more time to recover the already-sluggish Korean economy in the first half of this year. The ruling and opposition parties should come up with measures to improve people’s livelihood while consoling the victims and their families. They should keep in mind that exploiting the accident to win the local elections will make the people turn their back.