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Democratic Party torn over stance of its chairman

Posted March. 01, 2023 07:51,   

Updated March. 01, 2023 07:51


On Tuesday, Lee Jae-myung, the chairman of the opposition Democratic Party of Korea, dismissed the demand to declare his next move, saying, “There is simply no need to do so.” This was in response to the growing calls for Lee’s resignation among the “Non-Myung” (Non-Lee Jae-myung) faction, following the mass defection of votes on the proposed bill for agreement on the arrest of Lee from the previous day.

“We confirmed the prosecution’s oppression through the votes in the National Assembly yesterday,” said an official from the opposition party. "Lee does not need to clarify his position." In fact, Lee chose not to directly answer the questions from reporters about his next moves, urging to pay more attention to the topics that make people’s lives better, such as curbing inflation and improving the economy, rather than having him arrested. Lee continued with his scheduled activities, including a visit to a site related to lung cancer diagnosis among school cafeteria workers, without expressing any particular stance on the rejection of the proposed bill for consent on his arrest.

As Lee enters into a state of “intransigence,” the opposition party is facing a fierce backlash. The non-supporters are urging Lee to step down, claiming that the votes are only the tip of an iceberg, and the members of the Pro-Lee faction are slamming the non-supporters, defining the at least 31 defection votes as “organized defections for the struggle for the party leadership.”

The party leadership is floating the idea of “planned voting.” In a phone interview with The Dong-A Ilbo, spokesperson Park Seong-joon said the vote was not voluntary but had been planned out, saying the forces striving for the party leadership seem to have expressed their intentions a bit too soon. "We've identified about 17 of those who cast defection votes from particular groups of lawmakers within the party,” said a member of the Pro-Lee faction, labeling the lawmakers who voted for Lee’s arrest as actors of harm to the interest of the party.

In response to the allegations over the “planned voting,” the non-Myung factions fought back, saying the conflicts and complaints accumulated over time have boiled over incidentally. “The numbers are simply the tip of the iceberg, and there must be a much larger body of ice underneath the water,” Rep. Lee Sang-min, a major member of the non-Myung group, said on CBS Radio.

The ruling People Power Party continued with its offensives as well. “Even within the Democratic Party, 38 policymakers refused to sympathize with Lee’s claim on political persecution,” the party's Floor Leader Joo Ho-young pointed out during the internal strategy meeting.