The discord between the main opposition Democratic Party and the presidential office and the ruling Saenuri Party continues to deepen, with no compromises coming from either side.
On Monday, President Park Geun-hye said that she was open to meeting with DP and Saenuri Party leaders to discuss issues regarding the public’s daily lives. However, she ruled out discussing the National Intelligence Service’s alleged election interference, effectively rejecting the DP’s call for a one-on-one meeting between the president and main opposition party chairman Rep. Kim Han-gil.
The DP chairman, who planned to sleep at the party’s campaign tent in Seoul Plaza in protest from Tuesday night, responded by reiterating his demands for a one-on-one meeting with Park.
“If the bilateral meeting suggested by the DP is followed by the multimember conference suggested by the president to discuss the people’s livelihoods, both meetings would be beneficial for the nation and the people,” Kim said Tuesday.
He also said that if Park thought that she does not have the responsibility to clarify related issues because she was not involved, such reasoning was unsuitable for a president who swore to uphold the Constitution.
Since Aug. 1, the DP has been operating a campaign to “revive democracy” out of a tent set up in central Seoul.
Kim also set a timeframe for Cheong Wa Dae’s reply to his renewed demands, saying “the people” would want the president to give her response before leaving on a state visit to Russia and Vietnam on Sept. 4.
Park also implied that the DP had crossed a line by comparing last year’s presidential election to the rigged election carried out under the Syngman Rhee administration in 1960.
“Politics that are far removed from the livelihoods of the people, and that cross a line will divide the public and cripple politics,” Park said Monday, saying that she did not receive any help from the NIS.
Park’s comments have been met with vehement criticism from the main opposition, which claimed that the presidential office was blocking out the voice of the public.
For its part, the ruling party berated the DP, saying that the main opposition appears to be resorting to extreme measures to avoid public criticism.
“What is comparing the NIS case to the March 15 rigged election for the purpose of damaging the administration’s legitimacy, if not crossing the line?” Saenuri Party said in a statement.
“Furthermore, what else is taking to the streets while ignoring the call for a people’s livelihood conference, if not political wrangling?”
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org