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Pro-Park lawmakers should let ‘impeachment clock’ continue ticking

Pro-Park lawmakers should let ‘impeachment clock’ continue ticking

Posted November. 26, 2016 07:20,   

Updated November. 26, 2016 08:38


Ruling Saenuri Party’s floor leader Chung Jin-seok on Friday abruptly rejected timeline for impeachment of President Park Geun-hye, which the three opposition parties agreed on Thursday, and asked the latter for negotiations, only to withdraw the offer in the face of opposition by the party’s non-Park faction lawmakers. Hence, chances are high that the impeachment bill will be voted at the plenary session of the National Assembly as early as Dec. 2 or Dec. 9. However, if pro-Park lawmakers, who have been siding with Park for years, systematically resist, there can be a variable to parliamentary vote on impeachment or its schedule.

Chung cited recovery of state administration in an orderly fashion as reason for his offer to negotiate postponement. If the Constitutional Court’s ruling on impeachment gets delayed for a considerable period of time even after the impeachment bill passes the National Assembly, vacuum and confusion in statement administration will inevitably get prolonged. Reversely, if the Constitutional Court’s ruling is made early, the nation will have to hold a sloppily prepared presidential election within 60 days after the ruling. Chung thus proposed adjustment of impeachment schedule by taking into account such potential side-effects. He also pointed out that if Korea moves to the phase for an early presidential election, discussions about constitutional amendment could lose momentum as well. It is uncertain whether such concerns are his own ideas or results of his sympathy with pro-Park lawmakers and the presidential office, but such argument can hardly win consent from majority of the public.

It was more or less President Park herself that opted for impeachment by rejecting resignation or handing over power. In fact, the ruling party would more proactively demand impeachment than the opposition. Impeachment is a method of disciplining the president, who violated the Constitution, in the most democratic and orderly fashion within the constitutional framework. Once the political circle chose to seek impeachment, it will have to tolerate some inevitable side-effects. If constitutional amendment is linked with impeachment, the process can take an indefinite period of time due to difficulties in reaching agreement. Constitutional amendment can be pursued separately if public consensus is formed, even after the impeachment bill is deliberated at the National Assembly.

Organizers predict that the fifth candlelight vigils, scheduled on Saturday, will bring together up to 1.5 million people in Seoul and up to 2 million people nationwide, the largest ever in scale. Causes for impeachment include a case wherein the president betrays the public’s trust and loses eligibility to take charge of state administration. No matter how pro-Park lawmakers pool wisdoms and seek strategies every single day, it is impossible to reverse the current trend. Cooperating with the opposition to ensure that impeachment schedule proceeds smoothly is the only way for the Saenuri Party to appease the angry public and survive the crisis.