“The Legal Risks Linked to Lee Jae-myung Were Expected,” Park Young-sun Mentions Possibility of a Split in the Democratic Party

Jo Mun-hui 2022. 12. 1. 18:13
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Park Young-sun, former minister of SMEs and startups, gives a lecture on “Today and Tomorrow in the Grand Digital Transition” at Matthew Hall, Sogang University on November 17. Yonhap News

Park Young-sun, former minister of SMEs and startups, expressed her concern on the possibility of a split in the Democratic Party of Korea. She claimed it was because the party was buried in the legal risks connected to party leader Lee Jae-myung. She also described President Yoon Suk-yeol as a “historical irony,” her way of expressing her complicated feelings on how prosecutorial reforms promoted by the Democratic Party ended up with a prosecutor getting elected as president.

On November 30, Park appeared on the KBS radio show, Joo Jin-woo Live, and when the host mentioned how Park had once said the party could split if Lee Jae-myung ran (in the parliamentary by-election), she answered, “Yes, I did,” and spoke her view. Park also said, “At the time, I also said we must not appear like a tiger disguised as a cat, but I am very sad because it seems like that is how things are proceeding.”

When asked about voices within the Democratic Party claiming that the party can’t do a thing because of Lee’s legal risks, Park said, “That was also somewhat expected,” and added, “The Democratic Party should leave the part that was expected to one side and become a party that presents alternatives related to the people’s livelihoods, linked to the economic crisis approaching in 2023.”

The former minister described President Yoon as a “historical irony.” She explained that the Moon Jae-in government relentlessly drove reforms to change the Prosecution Service, but that it backfired putting a former prosecutor in the presidential office. When the host spoke about how there were too many former prosecutors in the government, including the president and his ministers, Park said, “When a soldier became president, military officers occupied important positions. We called that a military regime,” She continued and asked, “If a former prosecutor is elected president, won’t we have to call this a prosecutorial state? We need to fix it fast.”

As for the prosecutorial reforms attempted in the Moon Jae-in government, Park said, “I think we stepped on the gas too hard.” She also said, “I think it should have been done gradually, and I voiced such views at the time as well,” and expressed her regret.

She also urged President Yoon to quickly meet with Lee Jae-myung. She said, “The president is a position that needs to embrace all citizens. It is a position where you have to do things you don’t want to, and when you do things you like, you can’t let it show.” She further said, “As a president, he needs to be more flexible, and I think it (the meeting) is necessary as a gesture for the Yoon Suk-yeol government to be successful.”

Previously in May, Park wrote a post on social media about the Democratic Party’s decision to strategically nominate Lee Jae-myung as a candidate representing Gyeyang District 2 in Incheon in the parliamentary by-election. She wrote, “It reminds me of an image of a tiger disguised as a cat I once saw in a cartoon,” and expressed her concerns. Her words were accepted as implicit criticism of Lee for seeking to run in a district where the party was highly likely to win rather than run in an area where the race was close. At the time, Park said, “When time passes, it is likely to return as an arrow. Some people advise that since things have proceeded the way they have, we should close our eyes and embrace him, but the future ahead seems too mirky to do that.”

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