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(EDITORIAL from Korea JoongAng Daily on Aug. 26)

Editorials from Korean dailies 06:56 August 26, 2022

A bulletproof vest for Lee

A revision to the Constitution of the Democratic Party (DP) being pushed by the emergency committee of the opposition party was voted down in the Central Committee on Wednesday. The revision was aimed at allowing party members to keep their posts even after they are indicted and at creating a new system of prioritizing votes by party members with voting rights over decisions by the national convention of delegates, the top decision-making apparatus in the DP.

The voting down of the revision in the Central Committee puts the brakes on the move by party members close to Lee Jae-myung -- the former DP presidential candidate now running for the chairmanship of the party -- to rescue him from various charges. Nevertheless, the interim committee plans to resubmit the revision to the Central Committee after excluding the clause on prioritizing votes by those party members over decisions by the national convention of delegates. The emergency committee has decided to hold another Central Committee meeting on Friday even though it takes at least five days to reconvene the Central Committee meeting. That's sheer violation of party rules.

A rejection of proposals that moved up to the Central Committee itself is very rare. It reflects strong resistance against the idea of saving Lee Jae-myung, former Gyeonggi governor, despite a plethora of allegations against him. Yet the emergency committee manifested an intention to pass the revision to allow Lee to serve as head of the party even if he is indicted. The interim committee wants to enable the party affairs committee led by the DP head to cancel any punishments by the ethics committee, which consists of outside members. Simply put, if Lee is elected chairman of the DP, he can pardon himself.

That's same as ridiculing the public. If the revision passes the Central Committee, the fate of more than 20 DP lawmakers under investigation by the police and prosecution for possible corruption can be pardoned by the DP head.

That's a shortcut to dictatorship. The DP's defeat in the March 9 presidential election owes much to the fandom politics based on hard-line supporters. Yet the party wants to give a bulletproof vest to Lee who has avid followers.

As a result, people show a cold reaction to the DP's national convention slated for Sunday. Lee has received 78 percent of the votes so far but voter turnout was lower than 40 percent in most regions. Even in the Honam region -- the DP's home turf -- voter turnout was less than 36 percent.

The low voter turnouts represent a strong warning from core members of the DP still loyal to its democratic values. The Central Committee's rejection of the revision can be seen in the same context.
(END)

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