Opposition Parties Snub New Saenuri Leaders, Didn't Have an Appointment They Say
SEOUL, Dec. 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's opposition parties refused to acknowledge the new whip of the ruling Saenuri Party, claiming loyalists of President Park Geun-hye cannot be considered dialogue partners.
Last week, four-term lawmaker Rep. Chung Woo-taik and Rep. Lee Hyun-jae were elected the floor leader and chief policymaker, respectively, beating their competitors from the anti-Park group.
The election came as Rep. Chung Jin-suk resigned as floor leader taking responsibility for the impeachment of Park over alleged corruption.
The opposition parties, however, said the ruling party should have brought major changes to its leadership, adding they will not meet with the pro-Park floor leader.
The Democratic Party, the People's Party and the minor Justice Party all refused to meet with Chung when he visited each office earlier in the day.
"I will wait with patience. We need to beg for forgiveness from the people," Chung said. "We will take time and endure everything, and become a negotiation partner for the opposition parties."
Chung was able to meet National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun, where the floor leader asked him to help settle tension at the National Assembly.
The new Saenuri whip also met Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho and vowed to focus on ways that can improve the national economy in parliament.
"The uncertainty in the economic field has been rising due to the rate hike in the United States. We would like to ask parliament to support the passing of bills (that can help the economy)," Yoo said.
Floor leaders of the opposition parties claimed that Saenuri lacked "sincerity."
"We did not shut Chung out. Chung came without notice," said Rep. Woo Sang-ho, the floor leader of the Democratic Party.
Woo said Chung's visit despite the boycott was aimed at passing the blame for the political tension on the opposition bloc.'