(EDITORIAL from Korea Herald on March 14)
Park should declare acceptance of court’s decision to dismiss her
Former President Park Geun-hye has expressed her disapproval of her impeachment and the corruption allegations against her.
In a message delivered Sunday by Rep. Min Kyung-wook, formerly her spokesperson, after she returned to her private residence from the presidential office, she said, “I am sorry that I couldn’t complete the mission that was bestowed upon me as president. I’ll take all the consequences. It may take time but I have faith that the truth will come to light eventually.”
Her message was far from what was expected. It revealed her will to face a showdown with the prosecution as well as the opposition.
The scene of her return home had the appearance of a rally. Supporters loudly chanted, “We refuse the impeachment.” She smiled at them and exchanged greetings with lawmakers loyal to her before entering her house.
The nation has undergone turmoil for several months over the impeachment. The public was split from two opposing groups, one for and the other against her ouster. Three died and dozens were injured during a vehement protest against the court’s decision as she kept silent at the Blue House.
Concerned leaders in many fields had called for all people, including Park, to accept the court’s ruling, no matter what it was. It was an undisputable call to overcome the political crisis due to the leadership vacuum.
A poll conducted soon after the court’s decision found 92 percent said the nation should begin to work toward integration. People thought the country should never be left divided.
One of the most important steps to national integration is the president’s acceptance of the ruling.
It is understandable that she personally thinks the decision was unfair. But the court ruling was taken in accordance with constitutional proceedings. She pledged to guard the Constitution when she was inaugurated as president.
The court dismissed her. She cannot but accept it as a Korean living here and should declare to the people as their former leader that she accepts it.
That is what the public wants to remember in her.
Many people protested against her impeachment while the court tried it. Park may be feeling sorry for them, but she should also feel the same way about those who were against her. If she truly feels sorry, she should accept the court’s decision, and appeal to them to put the division behind them and move on to integration to further develop Korea.
Park needs to remember what she said in 2004. When the Constitutional Court ruled against President Roh Moon-hyun’s policy to move the capital from Seoul to Sejong, she said, “Disregard of the court’s decision is disregard of the Constitution and denial of the entire legal system.”
In her final written argument submitted to the court last month, she promised to do her best to overcome the possible turmoil that may stem from its decision. She should have declared she accepted the ruling shortly after it was made.
In 2000, Al Gore, then the US Democratic presidential candidate, accepted the court’s decision for his Republican rival, George W. Bush, despite controversies over ballot counting. He said he would accept it though he disagreed with it.
In 2004 when the impeachment resolution against President Roh passed the National Assembly, it was none other than Park who said, “Let’s calmly wait for the Constitutional Court’s decision. Both sides who supported and opposed the resolution should accept it humbly.”
It is common sense to accept a court ruling in a democratic society. She may be well aware that the simple common sense should apply to her as well as others.
If Park wants to avoid being branded a former leader who scorned the Constitution, she should express her acceptance of its final say. She should also express her intention to face the prosecution’s investigation fair and square.