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Dissident Votes

Posted February. 25, 2010 07:48,   


On April 8, 1969, the National Assembly voted on a proposal to dismiss Education Minister Kwon Oh-byung as proposed by the opposition New Democratic Party. The bill was passed 89-57 with three invalid votes. One hundred lawmakers of the ruling Republican Party voted, so at least 40 of them disobeyed their party’s order by voting for the dismissal. Hearing of the voting results, President Park Chung-hee, who was in the southern port city of Jinhae on vacation at the time, hurried back to Seoul and ordered his aides to identify who disobeyed the party’s instruction. Five lawmakers were removed from the ruling party for their “rebellion.”

On Oct. 2, 1971, parliament passed an opposition party-proposed motion to dismiss Interior Minister Oh Chi-sung. The main reason was that four leading lawmakers of the Republican Party colluded with Prime Minister Kim Jong-pil to vote for the proposal. Some 20 legislators were beaten up by the Korean Central Intelligence Agency for rebellion. It is said that Kim Seong-gon, one of the four rebels, received especially harsh torture.

In the U.S. Congress Monday, five Republican senators voted in favor of President Barack Obama’s job creation bill. Thanks to their help, the bill was passed 62-30 and ended a congressional debate requiring “yes” votes of 60 percent or more. The five senators’ decision undermined the Republican Party’s filibuster, making a vote on the proposal possible. Democratic Senator Evan Bayh announced that he will not run in the November mid-term elections, complaining of the rigid partisanship in Congress. The five Republicans, however, are said to have revived the virtue of bipartisan politics.

In Korea, the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae and ruling party lawmakers supporting President Lee Myung-bak plan to put to a vote a controversial proposal to revise the development project for Sejong City, which seeks to build an administrative city in South Chungcheong Province, after the party holds a general lawmakers’ convention. The proposal needs 113 votes to pass, but some say 120 votes in favor have been secured. The result of the vote will likely be influenced by “rebellious votes” from the pro-Lee faction or the other that is opposed.

Editorial Writer Park Seong-won (swpark@donga.com)