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Depriving posts from corrupt and insolent lawmakers

Posted June. 24, 2015 07:17,   


When the prosecution indicted without arrest South Gyeongsang Province Governor Hong Joon-pyo and former Prime Minister Lee Wan-koo on the charges of taking illegal funds from the late Keangnam Enterprise Chairman Sung Wan-jong in May, the ruling Saenuri Party said, “As soon as they are indicted, the party will suspend their party memberships.” According to Clause 2 under Article 44 of the party’s constitution, "A lawmaker who is involved in corruptions including bribe-taking or collection of illegal political funds will have his or her party membership suspended as soon as the lawmaker is indicted.” Earlier, Saenuri Chairman Kim Moo-sung said, “If Sung Wan-jong’s list (of suspected bribe takers) proves to be genuine, we will kick out them from the party whoever they are.”

The reform committee at the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy announced on Tuesday a phase 1 reform bill calling for enactment of rules designed to deprive lawmakers and party leaders (chairmen of local chapters, and the headquarters) who are indicted for suspected corruption of such positions. If that is the case, will the party take away her executive advisor post from Han Myung-sook, former Prime Minister who was given two-year prison sentence at an appellate court trial for taking 900 million won (814,000 dollars) in illegal political funds from a construction company CEO? The key to this question is the provision of additional conditions suggesting that "However, if a member is indicted for unjust reason, including political oppression, the party’s ethical review board will determine.”

From the very beginning, NPAD criticized the probe into Han and her indictment "political oppression." The party also reacted angrily to probes into lawmakers Shin Kye-ryun, Kim Jae-yoon, and Shin Hak-yong who were suspected of taking monetary gifts from Seoul Arts College in return for giving favor in enacting laws, by labeling it “oppression of the opposition party," and politically "targeted investigation." As long as the party defines indictment of its member lawmakers as political oppression, the party will unlikely deprive lawmakers in question of party posts and exclude them from nomination as lawmaker candidates in line with the provisions in the reform bill. It means that reform could prove to be a blank pledge.

The reform bill includes the provision suggesting “The party could assess acts that damage the party, including the use of abusive language, and reflect the result in review for nomination of lawmaker candidates.” What would constitute abusive language and acts damaging the party? Kim Sang-gon, NPAD`s reform committee chairman, recently took as examples of abusive language and acts damaging the party and anti-reform cases Rep. Kim Kyung-hyup’s "statement on the Saenuri Party’s spy," Rep Cho Kyung-tae’s remarks "the reform committee is a front guard unit," and Rep. Park Jie-won’s comments of "new party within the party and preparation for split of the party." If a party member criticizes Kim or party leader Moon Jae-in by calling them "pro-Roh Moo-hyun" hegemonism, he or she might be categorized as members damaging the party, and end up losing the chance to win nomination even for no reason.