The first parliamentary audit of the Park Geun-hye administration begins Monday with the two main political parties readying to butt heads over issues ranging from the president’s welfare pledges to financial regulations.
During the 20-day audit, the operations of a record 630 government bodies and state-run organizations will be reviewed.
The Democratic Party hopes to highlight its role in keeping the government in check, which party chairman Rep. Kim Han-gil described as a “critic with alternatives.”
The DP, however, also appears to be planning to turn up the heat on the Park Geun-hye administration, focusing on the president’s election pledges.
According to DP floor leader Rep. Jun Byung-hun, one of the party’s main agenda for the audit is “revising promises,” referring to the president’s election pledges. Park’s intention to keep the promises she made during her election campaign has come into question following the scaling back of the basic pension.
According to the DP’s Rep. Min Byung-doo, 30 of President Park Geun-hye’s election pledges have been scrapped or remain unimplemented, and 20 have been drastically scaled back.
With the DP promising a tough audit, the ruling Saenuri Party’s leaders have called on the party’s lawmakers to block the main opposition’s attempts at turning the audit into an attack against itself and the government.
Last week, Saenuri Party floor leader Rep. Choi Kyung-hwan called on the party’s lawmakers to block the opposition parties if the audit is used as a tool for political wrangling, even if such measures hinder the operations of parliamentary committees.
On Sunday, Saenuri Party spokesperson Rep. Min Hyun-joo said Sunday warned the DP against the type of politicking mentioned by Choi.
“(I) request that the DP bear in mind that the purpose of the parliamentary audit is not to engage in political wrangling but to address problems in state affairs,” Min said. She added that groundless criticism and accusations were “evil customs of a bygone era.”
Along with the number of organizations being audited, the number of businesspeople called to the stand has also increased dramatically prompting worries from the corporate community.
According to sources, total of 196 businesspeople ― more than twice the number called in 2011 ― have been called as witnesses, some of whom will be grilled by two or more parliamentary committees.
The developments have brought criticism from the ruling party, whose deputy floor leader Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun raised concerns that focusing on questioning businesspeople could hinder the main purpose of the parliamentary audit.
By Choi He-suk (email@example.com