Go to contents

Political Tension Rises over Call for Defense Minister Yoon’s Dismissal

Political Tension Rises over Call for Defense Minister Yoon’s Dismissal

Posted June. 30, 2005 06:27,   


Amid escalating tension between the ruling and opposition parties ahead of the handling of a proposition for dismissing Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung on June 30, the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) has emerged as a critical factor (in handling the proposition) by declaring its opposition to the proposition for dismissal on June 29.

Prior to this, the Grand National Party (GNP) and the Millennium Democratic Party (MDP), opposing the statement by President Roh Moo-hyun that he will let Minister Yoon hold the post in his letter to the Korean public, decided on party platforms to carry through Minister Yoon’s resignation through voting in the plenary session.

However, because the DLP decided on a party platform against the proposition following the ruling Uri Party, it is highly likely that the proposition for dismissal will be rejected unless votes by faithless electors take place within the two parties.

Currently, the Uri Party holds 146 seats, the GNP holds 125 seats, the DLP holds 10 seats, the MDP holds 10 seats, the United Liberal Democrats (ULD) hold three seats, and five independent members have seats in the National Assembly, which gives the Uri Party and the DLP six seats more than majority of 150 seats.

Meanwhile, Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Man-soo noted that at a luncheon meeting attended by leaders of the ruling and opposition parties that was held at Cheong Wa Dae, President Roh said, “The proposition for dismissal, which is a practice under the cabinet system, is a virtual signal of non-confidence in government and it’s a non-existing notion under the presidential system,” and that submission of the proposition for dismissal seems to be a signal that the GNP wants to take a leadership role in politics

President Roh explained the need for Minister Yoon to remain in office, while emphasizing defense reform, and added that over a period of two years since the start of participatory government, the government narrowly established a three-stage plan that it is to be legislated in a regular session of the National Assembly. Roh also explained that the army is also in the process of carefully uniting opinions and that he wants to make a firm blueprint for defense reform.

Regarding the dismissal proposal, GNP leader Park Geun-hye, who didn’t attend the luncheon meeting, said at a general meeting of assembly members that not only the defense minister, but also the president, who is the Commander-in-Chief, should be thoroughly introspective and criticized that the submission of the proposition for dismissal was inevitable as her party had no choice but to call to account for the recent series of unbelievable incidents caused by a lack of military discipline.

Yong-Gwan Jung yongari@donga.com