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Opposition Party: Government Must Clarify Its Ideology

Posted October. 25, 2005 07:25,   


Yesterday’s parliamentary interpellation session on political affairs was dominated by debate on the rightfulness of Justice Minister Chun Jung-bae’s decision to stop the prosecution from detaining Professor Kang Jeong-koo and its negative effect on nation’s identity.

Rep. Ahn Taek-soo and Rep. Chang Yoon-seok, lawmakers of the Grand National Party (GNP), harshly condemned the government by saying, “The Roh Moo-hyun administration is under attack on its ideological identity because of its reckless advocacy for Professor Kang, a hardcore left-wing communist,” adding, “The government must make it clear whether it still advocates the principle of liberal democracy, is moving to pro-North Korea left-wing circle, or in the middle of two extremes.

Citing the responsibility of the current identity crisis, Rep. Ahn also called for President Roh to make a sincere apology to the public and dismiss Justice Minister Chun from his position.

However, lawmakers of the ruling Uri Party and Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan refuted the GNP lawmakers’ arguments by saying, “They are just attempting to degrade the rightful exertion of Justice Minister Chun’s mandate by treating it as hampering national identity. These are anachronistic Cold War-era ideological tactics.”

Meanwhile, Rep. Lew Seon-ho, a lawmaker of the ruling Uri Party, argued that, “As Seoul Mayor Lee Myung-bak, who is expected to be one of successful candidates for the coming presidential election, has outrun GNP Chairwoman Park Geun-hye in national polls, Park is attempting to use this scandal as a means to win the re-election scheduled for October 26 by stimulating ideological confrontations and agitating the conservative block.”

On the other hand, during this interpellation session, six lawmakers expressed their positions on a recent move about a constitutional amendment.

In particular, Rep. Yu Phil-u (Uri Party), Rep. Chung Ui-hwa (GNP), and Rep. Kwon Chul-hyun (GNP) endorsed a constitutional amendment and called for prompt actions by saying, “Let’s begin talks for a constitutional amendment right now.” They also added that the process must be carried out with the agreement of the political parties.

While Rep. Yu suggested that a referendum to obtain citizens’ approval on the amendment be held together with local election in May 2006, Rep. Min Byung-doo (Uri Party) and Rep. Ahn Taek-soo (GNP) said that the first half of 2007 would be the proper time for a referendum. Regarding the contents of the amendment, Rep Yu, Rep. Chung, and Rep. Kwon mentioned the introduction of a vice-president position and the adoption of a four-year presidential system.

In regard to this, Prime Minister Lee said, “It is too early to have discussions about a constitutional amendment because it may waste nation’s energy in unnecessary debate and, as a result, may dampen the current signs of economic recovery,” adding, “Even though the government has announced nothing about this move, personally I think we’d better talk this in 2007, and that it is a work of the National Assembly, not of the government, to set the timetable for a constitutional amendment.”

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com