Time to wait for a decision by the judge

2023. 9. 25. 19:50
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They even demanded that all DP lawmakers submit a petition to the judge to dismiss the prosecution’s request for his arrest. If this is not fascism, what is?

A judge at the Seoul Central District Court on Tuesday determines whether to issue an arrest warrant for Democratic Party (DP) leader Lee Jae-myung for his alleged involvement in a suspicious redevelopment project as Seongnam mayor and the dubious remittance of $8 million to North Korea in return for favors as Gyeonggi governor. Depending on the results of the judge’s deliberation on Lee’s arrest warrant, either Lee and his party or the prosecution and the governing People Power Party (PPP) will suffer critical damage. The judgement will affect not only the regular audit of the government after the Chuseok holidays but also the next parliamentary elections on April 10.

The judicial risks of the leader of the majority party have been a hot potato in our politics. Given the prosecution’s long investigation into Lee’s corruption and the tumultuous lead-up to the judge’s deliberation, such keen attention is natural. But clearly, the deliberation is not to determine whether or not Lee is guilty, but to judge whether his detention is needed for a further investigation. Lawmakers from both sides and their supporters must calmly accept the decision.

But sadly, the DP is mired in a sharp internal division over who voted for his arrest last week. Lee initially vowed to appear before the court if the prosecution requested his arrest warrant. But shortly before the legislative vote on endorsing his arrest, Lee pleaded with his colleagues to vote down the motion. Despite the impropriety of his about-turn, pro-Lee lawmakers in the DP are poised to sort out who voted for his arrest and punish them. They even demanded that all DP lawmakers submit a petition to the judge to dismiss the prosecution’s request for his arrest. If this is not fascism, what is?

Since the ball is in the court of the judiciary now, the government and the PPP must resist the temptation to expect political gains from the judicial risks of the DP leader. Instead, they must focus on improving people’s tough livelihood from sharp inflation and creating jobs for them. If the governing party shuns reforming itself, it also cannot get support from voters. After the sudden stepping down of the DP floor leader, the legislature nearly stopped functioning. We hope the majority party helps put the legislature back on track as soon as it elects a new floor leader.

The fanatical supporters of the DP leader had a violent clash last Thursday with the police while trying to enter the National Assembly to prevent the motion from being passed. Some of them even raided district offices of DP lawmakers not loyal to Lee to hurl insults at them. The police must be thoroughly prepared for the possibility of Lee’s radical supporters clashing with conservative voters, no matter what decision is made by the judge.

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