Han is one of many Liberty Korea Party lawmakers who have come under fire in recent weeks for incendiary language aimed mostly at the Moon Jae-in administration.
“Today I am stepping down from the secretary-general position due to health reasons,” Han said in a text message sent to reporters. Four-time lawmaker Han was tapped as the secretary-general in March.
The party secretary-general, who also acts as the vice committee chair of the nominating committee for the 2020 National Assembly elections, is a key post in the conservative party’s push for victory in next year’s election.
Though Han cited health reasons, his resignation is being viewed as the result of his use of rough language.
Earlier this month Han came into the spotlight for referring to reporters waiting outside the meeting room at the National Assembly as “mopping (the floor)” suggesting that they were sitting on the floor in order to use their clothes to clean it. He had shortly before that apologized to party employees for bombarding them with abusive words during a party meeting the previous month.
Han’s latest remarks instantly drew fierce criticism from the public and political parties for the Liberty Korea Party’s repeated hawkish, uncivil language.
|Main opposition Liberty Korea Party’s Secretary-General Han Sun-kyo stepped down from his post amid controversy for repeatedly using offensive language. (Yonhap)|
In a bid to assuage the escalating controversy, Liberty Korea Party Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn had warned party members that “language hurtful to the public and that makes them lose confidence (in the party) will strictly be held to account.”
“This pattern among Liberty Korea Party lawmakers of using rough language has emerged largely due to the upcoming general election and as party members are keen on clinching party nomination,” said Lee Jae-mook, a professor of political science at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies.
“Moderate politicians rarely make headlines at a time when party members are racing to cater to the party’s core supporters.”
The conservative party’s rhetoric and language against the Moon government has become more vitriolic since Hwang Kyo-ahn was elected party leader in late February largely on the back of hard-line supporters.
Hwang has called President Moon Jae-in a “leftist communist” whose “tyranny” has led to an “economic crisis.”
Liberty Korea Party floor leader Na Kyung-won has also issued radical right-leaning comments. She was in the hot seat last month for mocking Moon’s supporters as “dalchang.” The pejorative expression is used by a far-right online community to compare Moon supporters to prostitutes.
Following a three-month suspension from the party for posting on social media that the bereaved families of the Sewol Ferry tragedy are “leeching off of the public’s empathy,” former Liberty Korea Party lawmaker Cha Myung-jin called President Moon a “commie” in a recent post, adding further fuel to the partisan fire.
By Kim Bo-gyung (firstname.lastname@example.org)