The main opposition party is to adopt a new strategy for preventing Prime Minister-designate Moon Chang-keuk from taking office as unfavorable views on the former journalist spread within the ruling party.
According to reports, the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy has reached a decision to subject Moon to the parliamentary confirmation hearing should the government submit the request.
NPAD’s Rep. Park Jie-won, who will head the confirmation committee, implied that the party has not been against holding the hearing.
“Some lawmakers (of the NPAD) talked about boycotting the confirmation hearing because they considered (Moon) to be unworthy, but those with responsibilities have not said that,” Park said on radio on Monday.
“(The party) strongly called for the president to retract the nomination or for Moon to withdraw (his candidacy). My view is that the hearing must be held.”
The change in the NPAD’s strategy, which publicly remains focused on Moon’s resignation before the parliamentary process, is thought to have been fueled by the spread of negative views within the Saenuri Party.
So far, six first-term Saenuri Party lawmakers have issued a statement calling for Moon’s resignation, while a number of more experienced conservatives have openly criticized him.
“The public sentiment is very negative. I am also one of the people (who holds Moon in a negative light),” Rep. Rhee In-je, a sixth-term lawmaker running for Saenuri Party chairman, said in a radio interview on Monday.
Meanwhile, Rep. Lee Jae-oh, a prominent pro-Lee Myung-bak figure in his fifth term, called on the Saenuri Party’s leaders to put an end to the issue, saying that Moon was unlikely to be confirmed as the prime minister.
“The result is obvious. Already (Korea) has been disgraced in neighboring countries. The party leaders, or the would-be leaders need to convey the people’s voice,” Lee Jae-oh wrote on his Twitter account.
Externally, the NPAD is not letting on its calls for Moon’s removal from prime ministerial candidacy.
“(I) hope the request for Moon’s confirmation hearing does not come to the National Assembly,” NPAD cochairman Rep. Ahn Cheol-soo said Monday. Ahn added that Moon’s past statements went against public sentiment, and that his historical views were generating concern in China.
The ruling party, for its part, is continuing the attack on the NPAD over its demands for the confirmation request to be withheld.
“It is very hard to understand whether this is politics of common sense, whether it is new politics. If the opposition refuses (a confirmation hearing) the parliament is refusing its duties,” Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun said.
While the two parties wrangle over Moon’s historical views, issues have been raised about the Prime Minister-designate’s military service record. According to Seoul National University data obtained by the NPAD’s Rep. Bae Jae-jeung, Moon spent about half of his military service studying politics in graduate school at Seoul National University.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org)