As the two main parties remain muddled in their political wrangling despite the completed spy agency probe, they are looking to President Park Geun-hye in hopes that she may give them justification for a breakthrough.
The main opposition Democratic Party has vowed to “fight on” outside the National Assembly at their outdoor headquarters in downtown Seoul, while the ruling Saenuri Party slammed them for “stooping” to the level of protesters.
The Assembly, meanwhile, has a host of tasks to tackle, including the 2012 budget settlement originally set for this month, and a regular session next month to deal with scores of pending bills related to quality of life.
As the policymakers remain stuck to their prerogatives, calls are rising from both sides that it is time for the president, who has been avoiding political involvement, to speak up.
The DP’s senior vice floor leader Jung Sung-ho said on Sunday, “We cannot just return to the Assembly and work on bills when none of our demands made at the start of our outdoor protest have been answered. ... The outdoor rally will continue until after Chuseok holidays (in mid-September).”
The DP is demanding Park apologize for the alleged political interference of the National Intelligence Service, and for her to agree to a three-way meeting with leaders of the majority parties.
The Saenuri Party, for their part, is forced into a corner, as it fails to negotiate a compromise with the DP on their return to the Assembly to deal with pending bills. Due to the revised National Assembly act, consensus from the DP in any parliamentary procedure is crucial despite the Saenuri Party being the majority. The party said for now they will push to open committee meetings on their own from this week.
The party members have thus been voicing a need for communication with the president.
“Cheong Wa Dae must also not be bound so much by (their logic) and make efforts to prepare dialogue as soon as possible. Past presidents’ attempts to distance themselves from politics often led to worse confusion,” Saenuri Rep. Cho Hae-jin, in a radio interview.
Time is running out as Park leaves for her Russia visit on Sept. 4, making this week a crucial time for the political parties to reach a breakthrough.
By Lee Joo-hee (firstname.lastname@example.org