Sunday, March 5, 2006

When is a holiday not a holiday?

Answer: When the national railway workers are on strike and you're Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Lee Haechan, a close ally of President Roh Moohyun, has been under fire for going golfing on March First Independence Day, the first day of a nationwide walkout by railway workers that has crippled transportation (80% of long-distance trains were canceled), exacerbated commutes (it took some people three hours to get home on Thursday), and pissed off Korea-based bloggers.

People in positions like that of Mr. Lee are expected to be working overtime to oversee the government's response to a disruptive rail strike. The pressure is strong enough that Mr. Lee hinted today that he might resign.

Lee apologized:
I am very sorry for causing concern to the people with my incautious behavior. Regarding my future course of action, I will talk to the president after he returns from a trip to Africa.
According to the article, his remarks were taken to mean he was considering stepping down, but his office refused to discuss any details.

Further dogging Lee were accusations from the opposition and the media that his golf partners included businessmen who allegedly provided illegal political funds during the last presidential election in 2002.

Opposition parties have threatened to seek Lee's ouster unless he steps down.

Prime Minister Lee resigned.

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