Joo Ho-young, the floor leader of the ruling People Power Party (PPP), and Park Hong-keun, the floor leader of the opposition Democratic Party of Korea (DPK), gave speeches for the second day in a row. This is the first time the leaders have made speeches as heads of a negotiation group this year. It served as an opportunity to get a glimpse into how the ruling and opposition parties are assessing the current political landscape and their approach to a solution. A more responsible attitude was expected from the two floor leaders, given the serious and complex nature of the current situation compounded with inflation and recession, but the speech brimmed with denouncement against the other party; they were full of wrangling.
“The fact that Chairman Lee Jae-myung is accused of many different corruption charges is tarnishing the reputation of the entire National Assembly, let alone that of the DPK,” Floor Leader Joo Ho-young said during his speech yesterday. As to the claim that the investigation into Lee’s case is political persecution, Joo said it is a convenient double standard. He said parliamentary democracy is rapidly crumbling since the DPK took most of the National Assembly seats.
“The nine months under the Yoon Suk Yeol administration has turned our country into an underdeveloped country overnight,” Floor Leader Park Hong-keun previously said during his speech. Park slammed Yoon’s leadership with harsh expressions, such as “the worst leadership,” “the most incapable administration,” and “the boss of prosecutors.” “The trinity of the prosecution, the judiciary, and the presidential office are bent on protecting First Lady Kim Kun-hee,” he said.
The ruling party passed the buck to the opposition’s double standard for causing the many crises the country is faced with, while the opposition party was busy inveighing against the president. The leaders of the country's biggest political parties were busy denouncing each other instead of reflecting on their mistakes first. No comments were made concerning the collaboration with the opposition parties or the waiver of the privilege of a lawmaker.
The floor leaders’ speeches have certainly left a bad taste in the mouth of the public. Neither of the parties showed any will to overcome their confrontation of extremity, and they were simply busy venting antipathy and antagonizing one another. The provisional session, which took place in January amid the economic crisis, practically ran around in circles owing to the continuous bipartisan conflict. The political confrontation will likely escalate further in the provisional session in February, given the haggling between the two parties to take an advantageous position in the general elections next year.
Crises in and out of the country are deepening from the economy to national security. Crucial bills that will serve as the engine to pull through the crisis, including bills on AI, semiconductors, and quantum computers, are being hampered at the National Assembly owing to the continuous cacophony between the PPP and the DPK. Many bills are urgently needed to boost the economy and stabilize the people's livelihood, regardless of their political interests. The two major parties sustained confrontation, and neglect of duties is chipping away at the people’s patience.