The main opposition Liberty Korea Party held a mass protest for the second consecutive weekend in Seoul, condemning the Moon government and calling on Justice Minister nominee Cho Kuk to resign.
A day after holding a rally in the southern port city Busan, Cho’s hometown, the conservative party staged a protest Saturday afternoon near Gwanghwamun Square, central Seoul, amid scuffles between the main opposition and the ruling Democratic Party of Korea over a parliamentary confirmation hearing for Cho.
“This administration was clearly aware that he (Cho Kuk) would be subject to investigation, yet nominated him as justice minister. Cheong Wa Dae and the ruling party are pressuring the prosecution as it investigates (Cho Kuk). It is an odd administration,” said Liberty Korea Party Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn at Saturday’s rally.
Reiterating the party’s opposition to a parliamentary hearing this week, party Floor Leader Na Kyung-won said, “It is their duty to get the nomination rescinded, but the ruling party and Cheong Wa Dae are holding on to their plan to open a fake hearing.”
Arguing that a special counsel should investigate allegations raised against Cho, Na accused the presidential office of “suppressing the prosecution to block it from revealing the (truth) of accusations surrounding Cho Kuk.”
Some 50,000 participated in Saturday’s protest, according to party estimates, holding signs bearing slogans such as “Resign Cho Kuk, apologize Moon Jae-in” and “Sorry your dad isn’t Cho Kuk.”
Liberty Korea Party Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn (front row, third from right) and Liberty Korea Party Floor Leader Na Kyung-won (front row, fourth from right) lead a mass protest against Justice Minister nominee Cho Kuk and the Moon government in central Seoul on Saturday, for the second consecutive weekend. (Yonhap)
Ruling party spokesperson Rep. Hong Ihk-pyo suggested the protests represented a power play by party Chairman Hwang Kyo-han, saying: “Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn, who has no consideration for the public or the national interest, should immediately stop his move toward the presidency. He should return to the National Assembly and show that he is fulfilling minimal duties.
“The Liberty Korea Party is focused on irresponsible political attacks on the nominee and his family. If Cho’s hearing falls apart, the Liberty Korea Party will be solely responsible.”
The National Assembly is unlikely to follow through with Cho’s hearing, originally set for Sept. 2-3.
In the meantime, the Liberty Korea Party is considering holding two more protests over the coming weekend -- one in Seoul and one elsewhere -- signaling that the hostility between the ruling and the main opposition parties may spill over into the regular parliamentary session that begins Monday.
Main opposition Chairman Hwang is to roll out the party’s vision for an economic transition on Sept. 8 as part of its road map to revive the country’s economy.
By Kim Bo-gyung (firstname.lastname@example.org