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[Editorial] Brazen, two-faced partisan politicians

Posted August. 08, 2000 21:09,   


On Monday, the ruling and opposition parties reportedly agreed to again rewrite the revised Political Party Law (PPL), which bans party chapters from placing people on the public payroll. The new amendment will aim to remove this ban, which was written into the Law`s revision on February and will go into effect on August 17. It appears that the stipulated ban will now be deleted. It will then have existed only in the letter of the law without ever having been enforced. Although legislation is largely the lawmakers` perogative, this case clearly illustrates that they are overstepping their boundaries.

The ban on party chapters hiring publicly paid employees was written into the Law by lawmakers on their own initiative as part of an effort to promote clean politics and reduce political spending.

Initially, they seriously considered abolishing party chapters altogether. In view of the difficulties of implementing such a move, they decided instead to banish publicly paid chapter workers.

As such, the ban symbolized their first push for our belated political reforms, but lawmakers are now going to nullify it before it is ever enforced. This is tantamount to them abandoning all their will to effect political reforms. Yet, they continue to cry loudly for changes in government and the private or public corporate sectors. It is shameful for them to turn their backs on self-reform, and shocking that they are defiantly attempting to effect an anti-reform revision of the Law.

Ruling and opposition politicians` flimsy excuse is that the PPL`s realistic revision is inevitable because lawmakers circumvent it in any case by continuing to employ their senior chapter staff as parliamentary assistants or members of their financial supporters` associations. But this was something they had already anticipated at the time of the PPL revision in February, which outlawed any publicly paid staff at party chapters. We now suspect that they revised the Law just prior to the general election to appear to meet the electorates` strong demand for political reforms. The ruling and the opposition party may have tacitly agreed to effect the revision in order to win votes by pretending to share the people`s desire for political reform. Now that the election is over, it seems, they want to have the old Law back to suit their needs.

What is most disturbing is the fact that the two parties enthusiastically engage in bilateral cooperation for issues in which their selfish interests are at stake. Yet they show a minimal interest in deliberating bills linked to the people`s welfare and subsistence as well as other urgent pending matters. It was not long ago, it should be recalled here, that the ruling party made vocal pleas for the passage of pending bills. The party did so with such a poignant sense of urgency that the people were led to believe the bills would have a profound impact on their lives. Having forgotten this urgency, the ruling party now appears preoccupied only with self-serving issues and shows no desire to resolve the current parliamentary standoff.

The opposition party, too, has been engrossed in its attacks on the ruling party and remained indifferent toward the bills concerned with the people`s day-to-day lives. But, all of sudden, it pursues bipartisan cooperation when matters of mutual interest like the PPL revision are raised. In a word, the two parties think nothing of the people and their wishes.

Reportedly, the ruling and the opposition floor leaders decided to compose an ad-hoc committee to accomplish the political reforms that the two parties` leaders agreed to implement at their meeting in April. They should be reminded of the fact that the two leaders` April pact must not have been the one on returning to the politics of more spending. It therefore behooves both President Kim Dae-Jung and opposition leader Lee Hoi-Chang to instruct the committee not to make any attempts to revise the Political Party Law for the worse.