The PPP must wake up
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The People Power Party (PPP) often falls far short of meeting expectations for the governing party. In a visit to a downpour-stricken area in Seoul last week to comfort people in distress, Rep. Kim Sung-won dumbfounded others by wishing for more rain to make PPP lawmakers there look hard working to help residents suffering from the flood. Floor leader Kweon Seong-dong provoked controversy by taking picture of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with his smartphone while a meeting was going on.
To make matters worse, the PPP has been engaged in a heated internal battle to take the helm of the embattled party even after winning the March 9 presidential and June 1 local elections. Primary responsibility for the debacle should be held by President Yoon Suk-yeol and a few lawmakers close to him. The lead-up to the expulsion of thirtysomething party head Lee Jun-seok was full of mystery.
But Lee also must be held accountable for the alarming division of the party. When he was elected chairman 14 months ago, Lee was considered a new leader who could revamp the conservative party. But he turned into a politician attacking PPP members, not opposition parties. Nearly 90 percent of members of the National Committee turned their backs on Lee and endorsed the shift of the party to the emergency committee system. That represents a colossal failure of Lee’s leadership.
Lee should have reflected on the way he behaved. But he did not. He even filed an injunction with a court to nullify his party’s decision to suspend him for six months over sexual favors he allegedly received from a businessman. Even Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon, Lee’s former colleague at a reformative party, dissuaded Lee from resorting to a court decision over his fate.
The showy sixty-minute press conference Lee had on Saturday proved he is a politician with unique way of thinking. Even if he was driven out from the party amid an internal power struggle, Lee cannot be pardoned for his original sin. The ethics committee of the party was convinced that he attempted to destroy the evidence of his sexual aberration by sending his aide to promise a 700-million-won ($535,988) investment in return. But Lee feigned innocence and vowed to counterattack his opponents.
In the press conference, Lee even attacked President Yoon for using derogatory expressions about him. “Nevertheless, I worked hard to help him win the election,” Lee said with tearful eyes. What Lee really needs is some deep soul searching. Amid the never-ending pandemic and ongoing economic and security crisis, the floods make people’s livelihood even tougher. But Lee is busy trying to defend himself without any apology. He must wake up.
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