NPAD chief pulled in two directions

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Aug 12, 2014 - 21:31
  • Updated : Aug 12, 2014 - 21:31
New Politics Alliance for Democracy interim chief Rep. Park Young-sun is facing a crisis that could break her political career less than week since taking the helm of the main opposition party.

The crisis came three short days after she was named the party’s interim leader on Aug. 4 when she reached an agreement over the special bill concerning the April 16 Sewol ferry tragedy with her Saenuri Party counterpart Rep. Lee Wan-koo.

On Aug. 7, Park and Lee drew up an agreement regarding the so-called “special Sewol bill.” The agreement appeared to break a bipartisan deadlock had bogged down the National Assembly for weeks, but the repercussions for Park were immediate. 
New Politics Alliance for Democracy interim chief Rep. Park Young-sun is surrounded by reporters on Monday after her meeting with the ruling Saenuri Party’s floor leader at the National Assembly. (Yonhap)

Families of the Sewol accident victims forced their way into NPAD offices to protest, while opposition heavyweights called for renegotiations. The agreement also prompted widespread candlelit vigils in various parts of the country, while the Sewol victims’ families have accused her of being on the ruling party’s side.

According to the agreement, the committee for reviewing the Sewol incident will not be given investigative powers as demanded by the victims’ families and opposition lawmakers.

Instead, an assistant special counsel will be assigned to the committee to work as a liaison between it and the special counsel. Under related regulations, the special counsel is chosen by the president from people recommended by the parties.

Park, for her part, had attempted to give herself an opening by emphasizing the need for a more favorable composition of the committee and saying there was room for fine-tuning.

NPAD lawmakers, however, chose to call for a renegotiation, saying that the agreement was not acceptable to the public and Sewol victims’ families.

The ruling party remains adamant that a renegotiation is out of question.

“(The Saenuri Party) regards the result of the NPAD’s general meeting as effectively breaking the agreement between the two parties’ floor leaders,” the Saenuri Party said in a statement Tuesday, adding that the development was unacceptable.

“(The party) sympathizes with the bereaved families, but the laws and principles of our society cannot be undermined.”

Park, who has little choice but to push for a renegotiation, put the ball into the ruling party’s court, saying that as the NPAD compromised first, it was now the ruling party’s turn.

By Choi He-suk (