The Blue House Cops out of Ruling Party’s Electoral Rout

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Friday, April 15th, 2016
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President Park Geun-hye

“We hope that the 20th National Assembly will care about people’s livelihood and work for the sake of the people,” presidential spokesperson Jeong Yeon-guk said on April 14 offering no further comment on the ruling Saenuri Party’s electoral defeat.

 "Such public demands, we think, may have been reflected (in the results of the parliamentary election),” added spokesperson Jeong. However, he clearly said that the post-election briefing did reflect the presidential spokesperson’s take on the results, not President Park Geun-hye’s official position.

Political and financial circles point out that the Blue House is trying to distance itself from the election results.

The ruling party lost a parliamentary majority for the first time in 16 years; the main opposition party is jubilant after snatching up 123 seats; and the People's Party made a successful debut in the election, winning 38 seats. Under such unfavorable circumstances, the Blue House is sitting on its hands.

There is no denying that the ruling Saenuri Party’s electoral prospects started to be dampened by President Park’s comments about “politics of betrayal.” Still, the Blue House, many think, is blaming the National Assembly. Some netizens labeled the Blue House’s copout as an ‘out of body speech technique.’

The Saenuri party’s nomination debacle -- characterized by the party’s unsightly tactics to force former floor leader Yoo Seung-min out of the party and by pro-Park candidates’ blatant efforts to ride on the coattails of President Park – played out in the public eye, consequently making a big dent in traditional support bases. Nevertheless, the Blue House, many say, remain so nonchalant about the election results.

Though President Park called on voters to cast their ballot to admonish the National Assembly several times, the election results are a damning judgment on Park administration's failures.

In the run-up to the national parliamentary election, the Blue House raised the North Korea card, continuously highlighting the North Korea nuclear issue and unusually disclosing information on North Korean defectors. However, voters went to the polls to give a piece of their mind to the Blue House and the ruling party.

Fact-finding investigations into the Sewol ferry disaster are making little progress; President Park did not apologize for the government’s shoddy handling of the outbreak of MERS. The government railroaded through its controversial plan to introduce government-issued history textbooks in schools and signed a humiliating agreement with Japan without making any effort to consult with surviving “comfort women.” At a time when household debts and youth unemployment are hitting an all-time high, President Park met with actor Song Joong-ki and singer Psy for the sake of a cultural renaissance.

One member of the business world said: “President Park urged voters to pass judgment on the National Assembly at the polls, which actually boomeranged against her administration. However, she is still pointing a denunciatory finger at the National Assembly. Unless President Park goes for politics of negotiation, it would be impossible to pass an economic revitalization bill through the National Assembly where the opposition bloc now outnumbers the governing party.

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