The Korea Herald


Lawmakers against Park impeachment under fire

By Ock Hyun-ju

Published : Dec. 2, 2016 - 16:56

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South Koreans are bombarding lawmakers of the ruling Seanuri Party with phone calls and text messages to pressure them to join the opposition-led campaign to impeach President Park Geun-hye.

This came after Rep. Pyo Chang-won of the opposition Democratic Party of Korea unveiled a list of the lawmakers opposing the impeachment.

Rep. Pyo Chang-won of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (left) argues with lawmakers of Saenuri Party at the National Assembly on Thursday. (Yonhap) Rep. Pyo Chang-won of the main opposition Democratic Party of Korea (left) argues with lawmakers of Saenuri Party at the National Assembly on Thursday. (Yonhap)

Mobile phone numbers of the Saenuri lawmakers uploaded by an unknown source soon started to circulate online.

“I get phone calls even at 3 a.m.,” Rep. Jung Byung-kuk said in a meeting of Saenuri lawmakers.

Fellow Saneuri Rep. Rep. Oh Sin-hwan complained about receiving hundreds of text messages.

Rep. Lee Eun-jae said: “It is too much. Do we need to change our phone numbers?”

On Wednesday, Rep. Pyo released a list categorizing the 300 lawmakers in the National Assembly into three groups -- one favoring the impeachment, others clearly against the plan and the rest who seem reluctant to impeach her.

“You (lawmakers opposing Park’s impeachment) will be distressed by a barrage of calls. Blame me. I will take it. But you should make your stance clear. People cannot endure the situation even for a second,” he said in a Facebook and Twitter post.

The Saenuri Party floor leader Chung Jin-suk called Rep. Pyo’s actions “regrettable,” while vowing to ask for an investigation to find the person who first revealed the list of phone numbers online.

Other Saenuri lawmakers denounced Pyo’s actions as an act of “political terrorism.”

The phone calls and text messages reveal a thinning public patience toward politicians who can’t quite decide what to do with President Park, despite an overwhelming display of public anger toward the embattled president.

A sixth massive rally against Park is to take place Saturday, which will be a yardstick to gauge the public sentiment before the impeachment vote. The opposition parties have scheduled the crucial vote for next Friday, hoping the upcoming protest adds weight to their campaign to oust Park. They need at least 28 votes from Saenuri to impeach Park.

On Saturday, protesters plan to gather in front of Saenuri’s headquarters in southwestern Seoul from 2 p.m. to show their anger at the party, rally organizers said.

Then from 4 p.m., they plan to march toward the presidential office in central Seoul. Like last week, the march will have12 routes across central Seoul and completely surround Cheong Wa Dae from several directions. The main event is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Gwanghwamun Square.

President Park Geun-hye’s approval rating remained at record-low 4 percent this week, a Gallup Korea poll showed Friday, while 91 percent disapproved of her.

So far, the cumulative number of Koreans who took to the streets to demand President Park step down, has exceeded 4 million, according to the rally organizers. Last Saturday alone, up to 1.9 million people participated in the rally, with 1.5 million in Seoul.

President Park’s loyalists plan to stage a counter rally in front of Dongdaemun Design Plaza in central Seoul to blast protestors calling for Park’s resignation. They plan to march to Gwanghwamun Square in the afternoon.

By Ock Hyun-ju (