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A fall from grace

Nov 01,2017
A bigger political problem than the overbearing ways of the Moon Jae-in administration is the dysfunctional main opposition. Politics are bound to stumble if it does not fly using both of its wings. But the right appears to be hopeless. Opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) Chairman Hong Joon-pyo and Suh Chung-won, who is the leader of the surviving faction loyal to former President Park Geun-hye, are waging a suicidal duel.

Vengefully resisting the party’s decision to kick him and Choi Kyung-hwan out to wipe out the remnants of the ex-president, Suh claimed that Hong had asked for his help in cooking up a false testimony at the Supreme Court trial of his own bribery case. The witness against Hong was formerly Hong’s campaign manager and also a long-time confidant of Suh. Suh claimed he has taped phone conversations with Hong to prove his accusation.

Hong is the leader of the main opposition, and the Suh the conservative party’s longest-serving veteran lawmaker. The two used to be like brothers, but now are out to take down one another. Hong claimed that he only told Suh to restrain the witness from connecting him to the bribery. Suh insists that there is more to the story as well as evidence. If what Suh claims is true, the case against Hong would add other criminal charges, such as trying to meddle in the investigation and disgracing the court. Even Hong’s request to “restrain” him could cause problems.

Suh must release the taped conversation — if he really has it — and share the full account of the story. He also could face legal accountability if he is merely trying to buy time and prevent his removal from the party.

Both have been acting childishly. Their violent exchange of accusations has no decency or shame. Suh should have made an exit a long time ago for aiding a corrupt and incompetent president. The LKP is shunned by the public not just because it has failed in unifying the conservative camp, but because it does not seem to grow up and out of its old ways. Voters want to stop seeing Hong and Suh. It is no wonder they do not care if the party boycotts the ongoing regular session of the legislature’s audit on the government or not. In this way, there is no hope for the party or the conservatives in local elections next year.

JoongAng Ilbo, Oct. 31, Page 30