Rival parties clash ahead of Seoul, Busan by-elections

Feb 15, 2021, 09:46 am

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DP floor leader Rep. Kim Tae-nyeon (center) speaks during a press conference held at the National Assembly on Feb. 14, 2021./ Photographed by Lee Byung-hwa

AsiaToday reporter Jeong Geum-min

With the by-elections to choose mayors in Seoul and Busan nearly 50 days away, the ruling and opposition parties have taken steps to take the leadership while delivering the public sentiment during Lunar New Year holiday. The ruling Democratic Party (DP) stressed the need for passage of bills for economic recovery, while the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) criticized the Moon Jae-in administration citing worsened public sentiment. 

DP floor leader Rep. Kim Tae-nyeon said the party will seek the passage of new legislations for recovery of people’s livelihood and economic through the National Assembly in February and March, during a press conference held at the National Assembly on Sunday.

“People’s sentiment confirmed during the Lunar New Year holiday is the recovery of people’s livelihood and economy,” Kim said. “The COVID-19 vaccinations, which start on Feb. 26, will be like light at the end of the tunnel and a turning point to end the epidemic.”

“The National Assembly of February and March will focus on the people’s livelihood,” Kim said. “There are many bills to deal with, including the five bills on regulatory sandbox for corporate revitalization, the bills on the Korean New Deal, the child-care bill, the special bill on construction of Gadeokdo airport, and more.”

“In particular, we will speed up the party-government negotiations for a pandemic compensation bill,” Kim said. “Our efforts for the passage of bills related to the people’s livelihood and economic recovery will not be limited to the February assembly, but will be carried out successfully in connection with the March parliament.”

It seems the ruling party aims to raise approval rating of the government and the party through the passage of bills with the start of vaccination after the Lunar New Year holiday. 

Lee Nak-yon, leader of the ruling party, also held a press conference with preliminary candidates for the by-election at the National Assembly on Sunday to convey the public sentiment of the Lunar New Year holiday.

On the other hand, the main opposition party harshly criticized the Moon Jae-in administration delivering the worsening public sentiment. “The public sentiment that I felt during the holiday is that the public wants to ‘quit’ the Moon Jae-in administration,” said PPP leader Kim Chong-in in a statement issued on Sunday. “In the last four years, the people showed support for the current ruling power in the past four big elections, but now they criticize that the current administration is worse than any other previous ones.”

“In general, I felt that the public expectations for the administration were collapsing and the Moon Jae-in administration’s bubble was bursting,” the PPP leader said. 

Kim said the public was particularly dissatisfied over employment issues as well as real estate issues caused by soaring housing prices and jeonse crisis.

Regarding the appointment of Hwang Hee as Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Kim said, “Some even said it is better to abolish personnel hearings that give indulgences and blaspheme the people.”

Regarding Supreme Court Chief Kim Myung-soo, Kim claimed that many people called for his immediate resignment. 

#by-election #People Power Party #Democratic Party #Kim Tae-nyeon 
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