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[Newsmaker] Liberty Korea Party confirms nationwide rally despite criticism

Liberty Korea Party Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn on Monday reaffirmed his plans to “stand against the left-leaning tyranny” of the Moon Jae-min government by staging a nationwide rally this weekend, widely seen as a move to shore up the main opposition party’s dwindling approval ratings.

“In launching an all-out protest we will stand against the left-leaning tyranny of the Moon administration,” he said at a top-level party meeting.

“Starting with the rally on the Aug. 24 in Gwanghwamun, we will hold rallies countrywide to deliver the public’s warning directly to President Moon.”

The rallies come in the midst of Liberty Korea Party’s sliding approval ratings and tensions ratcheting up in the National Assembly ahead of the parliamentary confirmation hearing of seven ministerial-level nominees including Justice Minister nominee Cho Kuk.

The growing anti-Abe sentiment here has taken a toll on the main opposition party’s approval rating that stood at 29.4 percent in the second week of August, up 0.7 percentage point from the previous week, and remained below 30 percent for the fifth consecutive week, according to local pollster Real Meter.

Of 2,002 adults surveyed, 40.6 percent respondents said they support the ruling Democratic Party.

Main opposition Liberty Korea Party Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn (right) speaks during a party meeting on Monday morning. (Yonhap)
Main opposition Liberty Korea Party Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn (right) speaks during a party meeting on Monday morning. (Yonhap)

Hwang said the planned rallies are aimed at condemning the “failure of the administration and the reshuffle” citing uncertainties about North Korea, among other factors.

In a different strategy from the party’s all-out boycott three months ago, the party is expected to take part in the parliamentary confirmation hearings and audit scheduled for next month.

Hwang’s announcement over the weekend instantly sparked criticism from ruling and other opposition parties, calling on the party to scrap the rallies.

“Ahead of the parliamentary audit, there are pending problems that the ruling and main opposition parties need to navigate with bipartisan cooperation amid the economic crisis stemming from Japan’s trade curbs,” ruling Democratic Party spokesperson Lee Jae-jung said.

“Given the situation, it will be difficult for Chairman Hwang’s out-of-the-blue rally to gain public support,” Lee added.

Echoing Lee, minor conservative Bareunmirae Party spokesperson Lee Jong-cheol said, “Liberty Korea Party’s rally will not be accepted by the public. The public’s frustration and fatigue have risen due to the main opposition party’s irresponsible frequent rallies.”

In response to the criticism, Hwang said he is aware of all concerns and urged the public to join the party’s decision to “fight and win as one.” 

By Kim Bo-gyung (