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Apologize first, Choo

July 11,2017
The National Assembly has been paralyzed for nearly a week. Members of the People’s Party boycotted activities in protest of harsh comments by Choo Mi-ae, the chairwoman of the ruling Democratic Party, over fabrication and the spread of false information about the son of President Moon Jae-in during the presidential election.

Legislative activities have come to a full stop, including the bills proposing the supplementary budget and reorganization of the government, as well as confirmation of ministerial nominees necessary for a full-fledged start of the new government under President Moon Jae-in.

Choo, nevertheless, ratcheted up her statements against the People’s Party, accusing the suspects of “willful negligence.” The People’s Party accused her of acting like the prosecutor general. Her hard-line and hostile attitude toward the party that had spun off from the DP confounded other ruling party executives.

The People’s Party should have shown more accountability towards the fiasco. Its action of hastily distancing itself from the accused members has hardly been honorable. No evidence points to involvement from the leadership.

Choo has triggered unnecessary conflict before. She accused Park Jie-won, former chairman of the People’s Party, and Ahn Cheol-soo, former presidential candidate of the party, of involvement in the case without any evidence.

These belligerent attitudes towards another party cannot bring about bipartisanship. Moreover, no one from the ruling party is attempting to contain Choo.

Moon enjoys an approval rating of over 80 percent. But a president cannot govern on public support alone. Choo must apologize for her hasty accusations and persuade the People’s Party to return to the legislature. She will be blamed if the National Assembly remains idle this week as well.

The People’s Party also must be held accountable for the current mess. Ahn, who represented the party in the presidential race, needs to seek public pardon — regardless of his possible involvement in the case.

If nobody from the party offers to take responsibility, it would further lose public confidence.

JoongAng Ilbo, July 10, Page 30