Political hunger strikes – The Korea Times


This sudden hunger strike prompts worries for the health of our party politics. The National Assembly is currently in its last plenary session with the current members before the nation goes to the polls next April to elect new representatives. Some 200 bills are up for vote as well as the next year’s government budget, but the hunger strike will definitely put up roadblocks.

Rep. Kim Gi-hyeon, leader of the ruling People Power Party (PPP), expressed frustration that Lee was holding people’s livelihood issues hostage with heightened judiciary risks. But the PPP should also ask whether it has done its role of crossing the aisles of the Assembly to resolve difficult issues. The ruling party also stands in the shadow of the president, who has been vocally expanding on his conservative views of liberalism and laying stress on ideology. In his recent meeting with PPP lawmakers, Yoon stressed the need to fight against “communist totalitarianism.” The president has castigated critics of the release of treated radioactive water from Fukushima, as those who say “one plus one adds up to 100.” His approval ratings in the five days from Aug. 31 to Sept. 1 tallied 35.4 percent in a Realmeter survey.

While Lee and Kim have met as respective party leaders, Yoon has not met his former presidential rival Lee since taking office in May 2022.

In Korea’s hard-won democracy, constituents deserve healthy engagement between parties ― be it partisan growling and fighting over bills ― rather than a “freeze” in relations.

The writer is a member of The Korea Times editorial board.

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