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Impeachment Standoff Hurts the Country and the People

Posted March. 11, 2004 18:23,   


With the economy being clouded by the recession, the do-or-die political standoff over the impeachment against President Roh Moo-hyun is arousing a sense of crisis in which the entire country may slide into an irreversible quagmire.

President Roh, who caused the impeachment motion with his breach of election regulations, has been ignoring public pleas for an official apology for his irregularities. Rather, he appears to be using public anxiety for his political gain. Showing his resolution to fight a big fight with opposition lawmakers, one presidential aide said, “President Roh is prepared for a suspension of his office on March 10.”

Two opposition parties, the Grand National Party and Millennium Democratic Party (MDP), have shut down any possibility of compromise or dialogue and are using everything they have to push through with the impeachment. Criticism is on the rise saying that it is the people’s livelihood that is being pummeled. GNP chairman Choe Byung-yul pressed the GNP minorities who were skeptical to endorse the impeachment motion, saying, “If we stop here we won’t accomplish anything. We will end up in a quandary.”

However, in opinion polls conducted by Gallop Korea, Media Research, and other pollsters, more than 60 percent opposed the impeachment and, at the same time, supported a presidential apology. The solution is out there, only to be ignored by the presidential office and politicians.

“The president should offer an apology for his series of misdeeds, and the opposition parties should withdraw the impeachment motion,” said approximately 89 of the country’s senior leaders in a joint statement. Among them were Ven. Song Wol-joo, former general director of Jogye order, the country’s largest Buddhist sect; Kang Moon-kyu, chairman of the global sharing movement; and Kim Jin-hyun, former president of Seoul City University,

In a press conference on March 10, the Solidarity Network of Civil Society Groups, an umbrella of 353 organizations headed by Pak Won-soon, said, “The impeachment proceedings must stop immediately. The president should respect the warning for political neutrality made by the National Election Commission and try his best to manage the elections impartially.”

“It is agonizing to see politicians getting engaged in political squabbling while a collective crisis of the country is getting closer” said Rev. Shin Kyung-seok, the head of Citizen Power.

Young-Chan Yoon yyc11@donga.com