Main opposition Liberty Korea Party lawmakers are taking up the outdoor hunger strike started by party chief Hwang Kyo-ahn, after he was hospitalized Wednesday night, on the eighth day of his fasting.
Hwang, who fell unconscious around 11 p.m. Wednesday, was rushed to Severance Hospital in Sinchon, Seoul, where he is receiving medical treatment, party officials said. Upon regaining consciousness, Hwang insisted on resuming the hunger strike despite dissuasion from party members concerned about his health.
Liberty Korea Party chief Hwang Kyo-ahn is transported in an ambulance, Wednesday night. (Yonhap)
The leader of the major conservative party began the hunger strike Nov. 20 to protest President Moon Jae-in’s decision to terminate the country’s military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan and to demonstrate opposition to a set of fast-tracked bills to reform the prosecution and electoral system.
Although the intelligence deal was at least temporarily salvaged on Nov. 22, Hwang continued the fast, demanding the cancellation of the two controversial reform bills. The first involves establishing a separate body to investigate corruption allegations concerning high-ranking government officials, while the bill on election reform aims to adopt a revised proportional representation system.
Officials said Hwang showed signs of dehydration and poor health from Monday, and was unable to recognize faces or communicate clearly by the next day.
Following Hwang’s hospitalization, two Liberty Korea lawmakers -- Shin Bo-ra and Chung Mi-kyung -- took Hwang’s place Wednesday night and vowed to carry on the hunger strike.
“The ruling party accepted not one of the proposals put forth by the opposition party leader,” Shin said in a statement. “From now on, the rest of the party will take on the fight right here, in front of Cheong Wa Dae, to block the passage of the bills that would disrupt the fundamental democratic principle of checks and balances.”
During a supreme council meeting held at the National Assembly on Thursday, Liberty Korea Party Floor Leader Na Kyung-won called on the president to respond to the opposition party’s demands and restore political dialogue.
By Kim Arin (firstname.lastname@example.org