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Political Feud Continues at the National Assembly

Posted October. 29, 2004 22:54,   


The pitched standoff between the ruling and opposition parties, triggered by Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan’s derogatory remarks about the Grand National Party, Dong-A Ilbo, and Chosun Ilbo, appears to be continuing.

The National Assembly, which discontinued its main session a day earlier, remained disrupted on October 29 without holding a question session with administration officials.

At a general meeting of its lawmakers, the GNP demanded President Roh Moo-hyun to dismiss Prime Minister Lee from his post, citing his remarks at the beginning of the session the day before as a total negligence in constitutional order.

“Prime Minister Lee’s remarks were in breach of the political neutrality of the official responsible for the overall administration of the government, exposed a dangerous anti-liberal democracy view on the press, and caused a political catastrophe by attacking the opposition party for partisan interests,” said Rep. Lim Tae-hee, speaking for the GNP at a press briefing. “The GNP won’t join any National Assembly session until the issues surrounding Prime Minister Lee are addressed.”

After holding Prime Lee’s debasing remarks in breach of the Constitution on the political neutrality of government servants and the electoral code, the GNP filed a motion with the National Election Commission over the legality of his remarks.

At a luncheon meeting with two Uri Party lawmakers, Yu Jae-kon and Kim Myong-ja, Prime Minister Lee said, “The GNP’s groundless red-baiting resulted in a lowering of the country’s credit ratings, bringing some direct investment projects to a stop.” He continued, “If the GNP apologizes for its red-baiting, I may express regret.”

The Uri Party has started a counter-offensive. At her press briefing on the party’s strategy meeting, Uri spokeswoman Kim Hyun-mi said, “The Uri Party calls for GNP chairwoman Park Geun-hye to stop her red-baiting and its floor leader, Kim Deog-ryong, to make an apology.” She added, “The question session on the economy, scheduled for November 1, should open since it is directly related to the public livelihood.”

Yeon-Wook Jung jyw11@donga.com