도복귀를 앞두고 자신의 목소리 속에 ‘화해’라는 단어가 담겼다”고 비판했다.
Firefighter-turned-lawmaker Oh Young-Hwan from the Democratic Party of Korea (Gyeonggi Yeojeongbu-Gap Constituency) declared his ‘early retirement’ on the 10th, saying “I hope that going back to my original duty as a firefighter can contribute to restoring the broken trust in politics even in a small way.” He made the announcement ahead of the upcoming general election. This 30-something, first-term lawmaker declared ‘political responsibility for extreme conflicts’ as the reason for his early retirement. There is much interest in whether Oh’s early retirement will result in the collapse of the Democratic Party. Oh held a press conference at the National Assembly’s communication center on the same day, and said “Having experienced first-hand the firefighter duty for almost 10 years, I entered politics with determination to make a safer Republic of Korea. However, I admit humbly that I lacked the political skills to persuade and reconcile those who put each other in the enemy category in the face of extreme conflicts. So, I have decided to not run in the 22nd general election.” Last year, he joined the Democratic Party after being recruited as a potential candidate for the Moon Hee-Sang (former National Assembly Speaker) region, and ran in the election where he was elected. Oh said during the press conference, “At the funeral of the three selfless firefighters, I was filled with despair regarding the limitations of reality. A month ago, at the place where the ashes of a young, 29-year-old firefighter were being buried, I accepted the limitation of my own power.” He has also proposed the revised Construction Act to prevent the use of flammable building materials such as sandwich panels, which are often cited as the source of major fire incidents leading to human deaths, as his first bill. However, with the enactment of the law in January next year, three firefighters made the ultimate sacrifice at a warehouse construction site just recently. He said, “The blood of firefighters are still being spilled,” and that “I will return after I taking the firefighter certification test.” While expressing his belief in the power of politics, he also expressed his heartache towards the reality of politics based on extreme conflicts. He said, “Our politics are measured by who can more effectively defame the opposition side, and we cannot break out of the extreme conflict between whether the current problem is caused by the past or the current government, and it is difficult to easily compromise or yield in any way.” He sent a message to President Yoon Seok-Yeol, saying “Now stop the sword (investigations) that you are holding,” and that “The only thing that can stop the sense of resignation in this society is the reconciliatory gesture from the one with power, who should be striving for national unity.” To Oh’s ‘surprise announcement’, a fellow Democratic Party lawmaker said “With early retirement announcements to follow in the future, the young lawmaker is surprisingly at the forefront. Through his own voice, he put in the word ‘reconciliation’ right before the midterm elections.”