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[Editorial]Uphold principles over expediency

Posted July. 28, 2000 21:16,   


The National Assembly`s interim session is slated to convene on July 31 at the request of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP). What must precede it, however, is inter-party reconciliation and an end to partisan bickering and confrontations between the ruling and the opposition camps. If the process of healing inter-party friction does not begin before the opening of the Assembly session, heated conflicts will once again dominate the parliament and result in its complete paralysis.

The sentiments for the normalization of the parliament briefly prevailed in the opposition Grand National Party (GNP) when President Kim Dae-Jung abruptly shortened his stay at the presidential summer resort to express Thursday his regret over the parliamentary stalemate. The GNP took his comments as a Presidential apology, but the MDP quickly countered that the President`s remarks did not amount to this. The ruling party instead demanded an apology from GNP leader Lee Hoi-Chang for opposition lawmakers` violent drive to sabotage parliamentary proceedings and their unlawful detention of the Assembly speaker and a vice speaker at their residences. This is what led to the current political standoff.

This daily has repeatedly argued in its editorials that the MDP`s railroading of a revision to the National Assembly Law was illegal, and is thus null and void. We further pointed out that an MDP apology to the opposition party would be the proper course of action for Assembly normalization. The MDP, it should be remembered, has repeatedly assured us that it would never resort to forcing through legislation under any circumstances. It is very frustrating for us to observe the MDP`s inconsistent statements and lack of magnanimity over the apology issue.

That is exactly where this matter stands. No one, therefore, will think that the MDP is demonstrating an attitude becoming of the nation`s ruling party if is obsessed only with brazenly laying the blame on the opposition. Now is not the time to play with words nor to allow ourselves to become victims of the politics of intolerance and narrow-mindedness. The party in charge of administering the nation`s affairs should display a far more a magnanimous attitude in attempting to resolve pending political issues.

Crucial economy-related bills, the Pharmaceutical Law revisions and supplementary budget appropriations need to be addressed immediately, but lawmakers are sitting idle on them due to their unjustifiable feud. To make matters worse, they appear more preoccupied with their overseas trips than resolving pending political issues.

In the case of the United Liberal Democrats (ULD), some 11 of its 17 lawmakers are currently on or planning overseas vacations. A variety of factors make our politicians doubly accountable for the present political stalemate. It behooves them to normalize the parliament at the earliest possible date.

In our view, the responsibility to normalize and to convene the National Assembly rests primarily upon the ruling party. It should be able to set an example through its ability and leadership and persuade opposition lawmakers to attend the parliamentary session by giving them some justifiable cause and political incentives to do so.

We urge the ruling party to express a profound sense of regret for its railroading of legislation.

The MDP`s apology, as well as efforts to restore the inter-party working relationship, must come forward prior to the opening of the 214th interim-parliamentary session. We also ask that the 214th session make the passage of the pending bills, which are directly related to the people`s welfare, its utmost priority, even if this forces the delay of legislative action on the National Assembly Law revisions.