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After impeachment

Mar 07,2017
Korea has begun its Judgment Week. The country is being harassed and bullied by global powers. Internally, people for and against the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye are on the brink of a head-on collision. The national governance has become too dysfunctional to offer any mediating and decision-making role. China is abusing Korea’s vacuum in leadership to domineer over its smaller neighbor with its economic prowess. Outside of military coups, never has the country experienced such internal disarray and external challenges at the same time. The country is like a ship floating without a sail in tumultuous waters.

The National Assembly passed the motion to impeach President Park on Dec. 9. The Constitutional Court is expected to deliver its verdict over whether to legally endorse the impeachment or not. It will likely come to a decision before acting chief justice Lee Jung-mi’s term ends on March 13. The verdict should end the agony and sense of insecurity for the Korean people and open a new chapter in Korean politics.

More than 20 million people who went to the streets on Saturdays either to rally for or against the impeachment must concede to the trial result. Whichever way the court decides, society must fully respect the judgment as citizens. Despite differing opinions, ages, and backgrounds, people have painstakingly restrained themselves to keep the rallies peaceful. The legacy has made Koreans proud despite the reason they hit the streets.

The most valuable outcome of the impeachment crisis is reawakening to Koreans’ commitment to peace and nonviolence. This legacy must be proudly handed down to the next generation as a pillar for our Constitution and democracy.

Opposition political leaders including former Democratic Party head Moon Jae-in have been disappointing. Instead of pleading for calm to give the Constitutional Court sovereignty in its judgment, they have roused public fury to buy votes and influence the court. They must truly keep to their word of yielding to the court decision.

We cannot know the direction of the political winds after the verdict at the end of the week. Whatever the outcome, politicians must remember that no one will win or lose. Instead they must seek compromise and cooperation. A majority in the legislature is impossible regardless of who wins the next presidential election. Politics will no longer function without partnership and cooperation.

JoongAng Ilbo, March 6, Page 30