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An arrogant party

Sept 16,2019
The ruling Democratic Party (DP) has shut its ears to public disappointment disclosed during the Chuseok holidays. In a press conference on Sunday in the National Assembly, Rep. Lee In-young, floor leader of the DP, urged opposition parties to stop “a vicious cycle of political battle” over the appointment of Cho Kuk — a controversial figure involved in a myriad of allegations against him and his family — as justice minister.

It is very regrettable that the floor leader brushed off a legitimate public call for the prosecution’s thorough investigation into charges against Cho as a “consumptive partisan brawl.” The DP attempts to shun its responsibility for Cho’s appointment even after creating an unprecedented “black hole” which sucked up urgent economic and security issues.

A recent survey by KBS, a pro-government public broadcaster, shows how ill-grounded the DP’s arguments are. In the poll, 51 percent of respondents disapproved of President Moon Jae-in’s appointment of Cho, while 38.9 percent thought otherwise. On Moon’s performance as head of state, 53 percent showed a negative reaction, while 44.8 percent were positive. It is the first time that negative answers overweighed positives ones in a KBS poll on Moon. In an SBS survey, 53 percent opposed the appointment, while 43.1 percent endorsed it. Nevertheless, the DP says it’s a political attack.

The ruling party and government must stop pressuring the prosecution led by hard-line Prosecutor General Yoon Seok-youl. Floor leader Lee insisted that the public does not want a “biased probe.” Instead, the ruling party is bent on attacking Yoon in the name of the people. But an SBS survey showed a whopping 60.2 percent of people support Yoon’s investigation into Cho’s alleged involvement in a suspicious private equity fund. Only 35.6 percent regarded the investigation as an over-the-top political intervention.

We are dumbfounded by the ruling party’s self-righteousness. We hoped the DP would calmly listen to the public during the holidays. But the party only listened to what it wanted to. Citizens are increasingly baffled and enraged by its efforts to play down the controversy by framing it as a political battle.

The ruling party must accept the worsening public sentiment as a serious warning. In various polls, public support for the DP continues to decline. The ruling party must read what it means. The party must not forget that it can be punished in the next general election if it continues to ignore the deepening public anger.