The main opposition party head on Monday accused President Park Geun-hye of violating the Constitution, citing Park's comments last week that urged voters to vote against the ruling party's floor leader Rep. Yoo Seong-min at next year's parliamentary polls.
New Politics Alliance for Democracy chairman Rep. Moon Jae-in said Park's statement constituted election meddling and was a violation of the principle of the separation of powers in government and the Constitution.
"Singling out a certain politician in a negative light before next year's parliamentary elections could be a violation of election laws," Moon said in reference to Park's statements against the Saenuri Party's Yoo. "The president has to know what she must do and what she must not do," he added.
Moon's remarks came after the president triggered a public uproar last week by vetoing a controversial bipartisan bill, mainly sponsored by Yoo and NPAD floor leader Rep. Lee Jong-kul, which would have given the parliament power to overrule government decrees.
Park said she had cast her veto as the new bill would have allowed the parliament to overpower the government, in violation of the principle of the division of powers, and blasted Yoo for sponsoring such a bill, calling him a traitor who must be "judged" at next year's polls.
But critics have called the president's remarks an attempt to mum critical legislators in the National Assembly.
"I think she's forgetting that one of the legislature's primary duties is to ensure that the government does its job, and that the government doesn't overstep its authority," Moon said.
The latest in-house crisis in the ruling bloc also appears to be functioning as a rallying point for Moon and other opposition lawmakers who experienced an intraparty feud of their own, only days before, analysts said.
Moon had picked Rep. Choi Jae-sung as the party's secretary general earlier this month. Party officials had accused Moon of favouritism, however, as Choi was deemed a member of the party's most dominant faction ― the pro-Rohs ― which Moon leads.
Some of the anti-Moon NPAD lawmakers have led a quiet boycott of party meetings since the fiasco, but the president's veto appears to have given the opposition a common enemy, with most of them ending their boycotts Monday.