The minor opposition Party for Democracy and Peace on Friday lashed out at two major parties stuck in an escalating partisan standoff that has paralyzed parliament over the past month.
Cho Bae-sook, the party's leader, pressed the ruling Democratic Party and main opposition Liberty Korea Party to end their confrontation and normalize parliamentary proceedings to address citizens' livelihood issues.
"Due to the antagonism between the Democratic Party and LKP, politics have been hobbled, while people's livelihoods have been overlooked," Cho said during a party meeting. "The two parties are snarling at each other as they fail to agree on the normalization of parliament."
The National Assembly has been paralyzed due to partisan squabbles over an online opinion rigging scandal, a set of contested bills, a constitutional revision, the government proposal for a supplementary budget and other issues.
On Thursday, LKP floor leader Kim Sung-tae began fasting, ramping up his party's demand for an independent counsel probe into the scandal involving an influential blogger with alleged ties to a ruling party lawmaker.
The LKP suspects a murky connection between the blogger and the Democratic Party, while the ruling party has dismissed the suspicion as a political offensive ahead of the June local elections.
The LKP has accused the ruling party of "glossing over" the scandal, demanding it accept the independent probe unconditionally.
The ruling party has indicated that it could accept the special probe should the LKP accede to its demand for the parliamentary ratification of the recent inter-Korean summit declaration, which the conservative party has disparaged as a "disguised peace show."
Despite the growing call for an end to their stalemate, the major parties continued to trade barbs.
"The (ruling party's) rejection of the special probe aimed at addressing people's suspicion is an act that betrays citizens," LK floor leader Kim said during a party meeting.
Choo Mi-ae, the ruling party's leader, hit back, arguing that the LKP's criticism of the cross-border summit outcome is damaging Koreans' aspirations for peace.
"The main opposition party of South Korea, which is the principal party in the Korean Peninsula issue, is busy undermining people's aspirations for peace and fueling conflicts," the party chairwoman said.
The LKP's increasingly combative posture comes as its public support remains woefully low, with its leader Hong Joon-pyo's firebrand tactics only drawing pushback from both within and without.
Hong has disparaged the inter-Korean summit declaration for cross-border cooperation and peace and attacked his opponents with insults. His incendiary rhetoric has infuriated the ruling party and also unnerved some party colleagues who fear that his rough remarks could negatively affect their preparations for the June local elections.(Yonhap)