Ruling-party lawmakers were struggling to contain the fallout from a massive scandal surrounding the resignation of South Chungcheong Province Governor An Hee-jung over allegations that he raped his secretary.
Both ruling and opposition parties shifted into emergency mode to adjust their campaign strategies ahead of the June 13 regional elections to take account of the "Me Too" campaign against sexual harassment.
One political insider said, "The elections will choose more than 4,000 new officials ranging from provincial to municipal government officials. So how can each party scrutinize the past actions of each candidate?"
Each party scrambled to set strict regulations for the nomination of candidates. But skeptics fear that will not be enough to stem fresh revelations.
The sense of crisis was especially acute at the Minjoo Party, where An was a rising star. Party lawmakers are being extra careful what they say and do.
One lawmaker said, "Just one revelation could deal a fatal blow to the approval ratings of the Moon Jae-in administration and party. To ensure that will not happen, we need to make sure the perpetrator is dealt with strictly."
One National Assembly staffer said, "Everyone is nervous about the fallout."