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Assembly speaker decries rallies

Both sides of partisan divide are criticized for ‘splitting’ the people
Oct 05,2019
National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang Friday condemned leaders of both ruling and opposition parties for dividing society by holding massive political rallies.

“Addicted to the number games to see how many supporters attend their rallies, political leaders don’t seem to care about this extreme split in the country,” Moon was quoted as saying by National Assembly Speaker Han Min-su during a meeting with his senior aides. “I earnestly appeal to the politicians of the ruling and opposition parties to refrain [from splitting the public] and work together to unite the people.”

According to Han, Moon was lamenting two recent street rallies that took place in Seoul. The liberals organized a massive rally last Saturday to support Justice Minister Cho Kuk and denounce investigations into his family. On Thursday, a massive protest took place to condemn President Moon Jae-in’s decision to appoint Cho and demand Cho’s resignation.

“The National Assembly has abandoned the livelihoods of the people and is buried in political power struggles,” Moon Hee-sang said. “The people wouldn’t even blink if the National Assembly disappeared today.”

He said the politics of instigation have reached a dangerous limit, and lawmakers must answer to the people’s will.

The ruling and opposition parties remain split on Friday in their responses to Thursday’s massive rally in downtown Seoul.

The ruling Democratic Party (DP) criticized the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) for having mobilized people from around the nation to fuel political strife. “The LKP mobilized its members from around the country, and other reactionary, religious, political forces joined them,” DP Chairman Lee Hae-chan said Friday. “It was chaos. The LKP must repent its irresponsible instigation.”

Some DP members admitted they were honestly shocked by the immense turnout. “We’ve organized many rallies,” said a key DP official. “Even if the LKP mobilized all its members, we have to admit that the number of protesters showed that it was a heated rally.”

The LKP said Friday that the rally was supported by an angry public. “Ordinary people gave up their holiday and attended the protest,” Rep. Na Kyung-won, floor leader of the LKP, said Friday. “It was a rare moment in the history of politics. The silent, shy centrists and rightists decided to raise their voices.”

The Blue House remained silent about Thursday’s anti-administration protest. After last Saturday’s pro-administration rally, a senior presidential aide said, “A large number of people gathered unexpectedly. We have to seriously consider the fact that so many people held candles together and made one voice.”

BY SER MYO-JA [ser.myoja@joongang.co.kr]