The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy on Sunday called for President Park Geun-hye’s apology for what critics claim were flawed government responses to the April 16 ferry disaster.
The party also lashed out at Prime Minister Chung Hong-won for having offered to resign, calling him “irresponsible and cowardly.” It stressed the Cabinet including Chung should make all-out efforts to tide over the disaster.
“What matters is the president’s responsible attitude,” said NPAD coleader Ahn Cheol-soo during a press conference.
“While it is only natural to conduct a thorough investigation to get to the bottom of the disaster and bring to justice anyone responsible for the sinking, there should be repentance and an apology on the part of the president, the highest person in charge of state affairs.”
|Ahn Cheol-soo (right) and Kim Han-gil, the two cochairs of the New Politics Alliance for Democracy, hold a press conference at the National Assembly on Sunday. (Yonhap)|
Ahn stressed that the government should completely overhaul the social disaster management system as it failed to fulfill its duty stipulated under Clause 6 of Article 34 of the Constitution, which obligates the state to protect citizens’ lives and property.
Ahn said that what was deemed a manmade disaster brought to the fore an “incompetent and irresponsible” officialdom and corruption in the ferry safety management system.
Ahn said Chung should continue to carry out recovery efforts to help quickly overcome the disaster.
“What would happen when the prime minister steps down at this period of crisis? Do we have to open a confirmation hearing for a new prime minister at this juncture?” he said. “The right attitude for him is to make all-out efforts to address the disaster, and then follow what the people want him to do.”
The NPAD coleader also proposed opening parliamentary sessions on a permanent basis this year so the legislature can do all it can to verify the cause of the sinking and punish anyone who contributed to the disaster.
By Song Sang-ho (firstname.lastname@example.org)