The feud between the Saenuri Party and Democratic Party is deepening over the intelligence agency’s alleged meddling in the election after the two parties ended a brief union to consent to the arrest of a leftist lawmaker charged with plotting a rebellion.
Amid escalating wrangling between the two sides, the National Assembly has remained idle, though the 100-day regular session began on Sept. 2.
As the DP continues the campaign to pressure President Park Geun-hye into meeting with its chairman Rep. Kim Han-gil, the ruling party has declared that it will push ahead with the regular session without the main opposition party.
Since August, the DP has been operating a makeshift headquarters in Seoul Plaza over the National Intelligence Service’s alleged attempt to influence last year’s presidential election.
On Monday, Saenuri Party chairman Rep. Hwang Woo-yea implied that the DP had a hand in allowing anti-democratic forces to grow in Korea.
“There must be consideration into whether forming alliances indiscriminately with forces that damage democracy provided a host for pro-North Korean forces that have parasitized liberal democracy,” Hwang said at Saenuri Party’s supreme council meeting on Monday.
The Saenuri Party and other conservative organizations have accused the DP of providing the left-leaning Unified Progressive Party a route into the National Assembly by forming an alliance during last year’s general elections.
The investigation into Rep. Lee Seok-ki over allegations of plotting an armed revolt has since expanded with a number of UPP lawmakers and party members being implicated.
Hwang went on to imply that the DP was taking anti-democracy actions by preventing the regular session of the National Assembly to proceed.
“It must be remembered that any actions or words that hinder the smooth operations of the National Assembly are also damaging parliamentary democracy.”
The barbed remarks from the usually reserved Hwang are thought to be a response to DP chairman Rep. Kim Han-gil’s comments on Sunday regarding the ruling party’s connection to past dictators.
During a visit to the cemetery for those who died during the democracy movement of April 19, 1960, on Sunday, Kim accused former President Lee Myung-bak and President Park Geun-hye’s administrations of damaging democracy in South Korea.
“The Saenuri Party continues the pulse of Syngman Rhee, Park Chung-hee, Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo,” Kim said. Rhee was the first president of South Korea who was ousted after attempting to hold office for life, while Park and Chun took power in coups. Roh was Chun’s handpicked predecessor.
“Because the Saenuri Party has its roots in the military coups of dictatorial regimes, it denies the history of democracy and leans on McCarthyism and accusations of being pro-North Korean.”
The DP chairman continued his barrage on Monday, comparing the actions of Park and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.
Citing Merkel’s recent visit to a former Nazi prison camp, Kim said that Park could learn from the German chancellor’s actions and from other leaders she met during the G20 summit in Russia.
“Chancellor Merkel does not say, ‘I have nothing to apologize for as there isn’t anything I have to take personal responsibility for,’” Kim said.
“If President Park discussed with the leaders of advanced nations about what the actions of a president should be when a country’s intelligence agency interfered with presidential election, it will be of great value for the development of our politics.”
By Choi He-suk