Lee Jun-seok, the suspended former leader of the governing People Power Party, did not mince his words when it came to talking about the conservative party at his press conference Saturday.
He condemned President Yoon Suk-yeol and Yoon’s key aides and vowed to fight them to the end.
Lee was suspended for six months by the party’s ethics committee on July 8. A day after the party shifted to an emergency mode on Aug. 9, he applied for an injunction. He automatically lost the post of party leader as the chair of the emergency council became the interim leader.
He described feeling shame during the party’s presidential campaign. He likened his activities of wooing voters to support Yoon to cheating them into buying an inferior item. He insulted the president and the party.
He revealed that he had campaigned for Yoon even though he allegedly heard Yoon call him “a bastard.” He went too far in attacking the president.
He said that if a certain message sent by the president to the floor leader of the party is sneered at by the people, it means that the presidential leadership is in crisis.
Lee needs to reflect first on why he was called “a shooter at insiders.” On two occasions, he refused to conduct party affairs and vanished abruptly after conflicts with the presidential candidate of the party. This shouldn’t happen during a campaign. He cursed Yoon, saying that he would leave Earth if Yoon was elected president.
He used a vulgar expression to criticize Yoon and the floor leader over the message. He has crossed the line.
He said the People Power Party “must be burnt down.” It is hard to understand that a person with this thought joined the party in the first place.
But he did not mention his alleged wrongdoing that led to his suspension -- aiding and abetting the destruction of evidence that shows he had received sex services paid for by a businessman as a bribe to him. Generally, if a party leader is embroiled in such scandal, he or she resigns voluntarily. But without a hint of self-reflection or apology, Lee attacked the president and his key aides.
He may think it was unfair for the party to launch an emergency council while he was suspended, and yet it should be the last thing for a person who served the party as its leader to condemn the president and the party he led.
The current situation stemmed from the sex allegations involving him. He is responsible for much of it. But his press conference was filled with anger and showed his thirst for vengeance. He should have shown prudence and used refined words.
Almost all National Assembly members of the party turned their backs on him and agreed on the necessity of switching to an emergency mode. Nearly 90 percent of the members in its national committee resolved to launch an emergency council. This means Lee’s leadership failed.
Lee should have reflected on himself first. But he kept fighting, He applied for an injunction to invalidate the party’s launch of an emergency council. Those close to him discouraged him from doing so but he did it anyway.
He vowed to keep on fighting within the party.
The ruling party is now in a position that it cannot keep leaving Lee alone. It must make a decision. But it must know that it is partly responsible, too, for the situation coming to this. It needs to review if it could have handled the Lee issue smoothly.
The nation faces economic and security crises amid the COVID pandemic. To make matters worse, many people suffered damages from the recent flooding. Lee should quit fighting. The party must settle an internal strife quickly and try to lessen the hardships of the people.