Dancing in the strange land of politics

2023. 9. 24. 20:23
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Lee Jae-myung’s radical supporters are no different from political thugs as they use violence against those with different views.

Die-hard supporters of Democratic Party (DP) leader Lee Jae-myung on Thursday occupied the six-lane roads in Yeouido leading up to the National Assembly ahead of the vote deciding whether to endorse a pre-trial arrest of Lee for multiple charges while serving as Seongnam mayor and Gyeonggi governor. Some of them attempted to march into the legislature after the motion to arrest him passed in the Assembly. A list of 110 DP lawmakers who publicly vowed to vote against the motion spread online to stigmatize the rest as betrayers of the majority party.

The fanatical supporters of Lee are shaking the party’s identity and the foundation of representative democracy. The core value of democracy is diversity. Although the majority rule is upheld for effective decision-making, the democratic process respects the view of the minority to check the abuse of power by the majority.

But Lee’s radical supporters are no different from political thugs as they use violence against those with different views. Politicians in need of nominations to run in elections ride on the fandom, pushing the party further away from the general public. Chung Dae-chul, a veteran politician with his political roots in the DP, criticized Lee’s supporters for doing harm to our democracy. For the majority party to recover its true identity, it must divorce its fanatical supporters first.

Meanwhile, on the same day, the legislature passed the DP-backed no-confidence motion on Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, thanks to the DP’s majority power. It was the legislature’s eighth no-confidence motion for a cabinet member, but the first time it passed a motion demanding the dismissal of the sitting prime minister. During Yoon Suk Yeol’s presidency, the opposition-dominated legislature has motioned dismissals of three cabinet members, including Foreign Minister Park Jin and Interior Minister Lee Sang-min, for suspicious reasons.

Han might have a mixed track record as prime minister. But he has not erred or misbehaved to justify a dismissal. The DP cites his accountability in last year’s Itaewon deadly crowd crush, the problem-ridden World Scout Jamboree event in Saemangeum, and the government’s response to the discharge of wastewater from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant. Placing all the responsibility on Han is excessive.

President Yoon vetoed the two earlier motions on his ministers and will likely do the same for his prime minister. The repeated calls to replace cabinet members and the presidential vetoes only help deepen the political divide and unnecessarily disrupt state affairs. The DP is out to pass the controversial bill aimed at strengthening the rights of labor unions and restricting damage claims on their illegal strikes. The DP must stop its unilateral ways for political gains.

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