Assembly Veto of Suh Arrest Heralds Political Big Bang

Article excerpt

The National Assembly's veto of the court request for the arrest of Rep. Suh Sang-mok of the opposition Grand National Party (GNP) has caused an extreme shock within the political circle.

The defeat in the vote at the Main Hall of the National Assembly yesterday inflicted a harsh blow to the leadership of President Kim Dae-jung, weakening his position and jeopardizing the coalition partnership between the ruling National Congress for New Politics (NCNP) and United Liberal Democrats (ULD).

Additionally, the Assembly decision is likely to deepen the people's already serious distrust of politicians with many raising questions over the vote despite Suh's apparent role in illegally collecting presidential election funds in collaboration with the National Tax Administration in 1997.

The NCNP expressed its shock over the vote result, complaining many ULD legislators might have cast nay votes.

``It is very disappointing to see this outcome in the voting. Despite strenuous efforts toward reform, the ULD members have not been helpful in any sense,'' said party vice spokesman Chang Shin-kyu.

``It seems President Kim has been alone in pursuing reform. We now need to make a resolute decision regarding the relations with the ULD, either severing ties or merging with it,'' said Chang.

Observers foresaw the possibility for the NCNP to conduct a massive realignment of major party post holders including floor leader Rep. …