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Lost control

Jan 17,2020
The Blue House’s defiance of our Constitution continues. Examples are abundant. It planned to introduce a system that requires real estate sellers and buyers to get permissions from the government to do transactions. The presidential office also asked the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to investigate possible human rights violations in the course of prosecutors’ investigations of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk. The Blue House even refused to accept a court-issued warrant to search and seize evidence of collusion by presidential aides to stop the prosecution’s investigations into many suspicions involving them. If the rule of law breaks, a country’s social and economic order collapses.

An increasing number of citizens are outraged over the Blue House’s high-handed approach to national governance. The proposal by Kang Ki-jung, senior presidential secretary for political affairs, to force home buyers to get approval from the government when they purchase expensive apartments constitutues a flat denial of the basic principles of a market economy. The Blue House stirred controversy when it banned buyers of apartments valued over 1.5 billion won ($1.29 million) from borrowing money from banks.

The government resorts to such excessive measures to help ease public disgruntlement about its failed policies. The government’s insistence on such erratic solutions defies common sense. To control soaring real estate prices, it should increase supplies. Yet President Moon Jae-in vowed to forcefully lower housing prices to their “original level” in his New Year’s press conference.

The Blue House submitted a request to the NHRC to look into the prosecution’s potential abuse of power in the course of its probe into Cho and his family. But the request was returned. A number of civic groups — mostly pro-Moon forces — have attacked the presidential office for dismissing the rule of law. Their assault is a warning against the Blue House.

The presidential office’s rejection of the court-issued warrant in order to block the prosecution’s investigations of a plethora of allegations against it has triggered denunciation from the people. They call it a “denial of justice.” Even liberal judges — who aggressively took part in rooting out what the administration called “past evils” — are blaming the Blue House for “attempting to stand above the law.” The Blue House must stop denying the very foundations of our democracy. Otherwise, the government and ruling Democratic Party will be punished in the upcoming parliamentary election.

JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 17, Page 30