President Park Geun-hye on Wednesday rejected the opposition’s conditions for approving her government reorganization plan that has run a cropper at the National Assembly.
Earlier in the day, the main opposition Democratic United Party unveiled a three-point compromise deal that included raising the bar for prospective executives at public broadcasters, holding a parliamentary hearing on the controversial managements at those companies, and an investigation and resignation of Kim Jae-chul, the pro-government president of MBC TV.
DUP floor leader Park Ki-choon told reporters that the party would agree to pass the government revamp bill if Park and the Saenuri Party accepted the pre-conditions which he described as measures to ensure the fairness and neutrality of the critical media industry.
“The opposition’s demands have nothing to do with the government reorganization bill and the creation of the Ministry of Future Planning and Science,” Kim Haing, Cheong Wa Dae spokeswoman, told reporters.
On Tuesday, the Saenuri Party requested another extraordinary session to open from this Thursday, but the DUP reportedly demanded a “one-point” session just to deal with the government reorganization plan.
As the tug-of-war persisted, Park steered her officials into an emergency mode to tackle domestic policy challenges and North Korean attacks.
Her senior secretaries will meet every morning to deal with pressing issues, presidential spokesman Yoon Chang-jung said.
“The delay in the passage of the government reorganization bill and the confirmation process for minister nominees are hampering normal operation of the government. We decided to make the best effort to minimize any vacuum in state affairs,” he said.
The daily session will be led by Chief of Staff Huh Tae-yeol.
Amid the prolonged standoff, both the ruling and opposition parties’ leaderships are faced with calls to meet in the middle.
Saenuri members outside the so-called pro-Park group criticized Cheong Wa Dae’s “stubbornness” and the leadership’s “ineptness” leading to a long-drawn-out void in state affairs.
“Because the route in which the rival parties solve problems through dialogue and compromise is completely blocked, we have come to a situation where Cheong Wa Dae must negotiate with the opposition party to dole out a compromise,” Rep. Kim Yong-tae said in a radio interview.
“As the president stepped to the fore and pinpointed what the opposition party is doing wrong one by one, the game has literally entered an emotional standoff between the president and the opposition, pushing the ruling party into an awkward corner.”
Rep. Cho Hae-jin agreed: “Although I fully agree with the policy of the new government, I do not agree to skipping the (process of) politics. I do not agree to Cheong Wa Dae throwing a policy at us and demanding us to approve.”
The same went for the DUP leadership, which faced growing calls to offer a compromise to avoid being perceived as “opposing for the sake of opposition.” Their anxiousness was further heightened upon recent news of the return of popular professor-turned-politician Ahn Cheol-soo.
Some party sources suggested the internal disapproval would have been much worse if not for the controversial public statement made by Park on Tuesday that averted the criticism from the leadership to the president.
“If President Park had not made such an icy address directly attacking the DUP, internal strife would have erupted at the party,” a DUP source said, citing escalating criticism toward the leadership’s “inadequacy to break through the deadlock.”
“Although such internal dissatisfaction has died down, the more time passes, the higher our burden will be.”
By Lee Joo-hee (firstname.lastname@example.org