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[Editorial] Top party leaders will meet at last

Posted September. 26, 2000 13:45,   


The long-deadlocked National Assembly might be normalized shortly. The Grand National Party proposed an unconditional meeting between the top leaders of the government and the opposition parties.

The Millennium Democratic Party made an apology to the nation for the protracted dormancy of the legislature. Both the ins and outs have begun to take rapid steps toward normalizing the National Assembly.

The irregular railroading of the National Assembly Law in the steering committee provoked disruption of the chamber, causing it to drift along indefinitely with urgent pending bills left unattended.

A sense of uncertainty has been widespread that the pillars that sustain society and the economy might be crumbling all at once in a crisis situation. The plummeting stock market and rumors of another recession also had much to do with the inaction of the National Assembly.

Nevertheless, arrogance and obstinacy prevented the ruling party from showing its political capacity. It tried to cover up its apparent mistakes in its irregular operation of parliamentary procedures or remarks on undue influence peddling in accounting for campaign funds, and instead blamed the opposition party. In dealing with the loan scandal of Hanvit Bank it went all out to engage the opposition in a partisan war of attrition, rather than trying to get to the bottom of the case. This attitude was responsible for prolonging the legislative stalemate.

The GNP shares the blame for its out-of-bounds political struggle. Many people sided with the opposition party because the chief responsibility for the impasse in politics rested with the ruling party, and the opposition party was in a position to find and denounce irregularities and mismanagement on the part of the ruling party.

In the meantime, there has been an equally strong voices questioning the relevance of off-floor activity in negligence of the pending agenda before the country. The government and opposition parties must have shown their willingness to resume dialogue in response to the rising public outcries against their inaction. Many errors need to be identified, truth to be brought to light and mistakes be punished.

Politicians must have become aware of the deep unease gripping the people over the bleak fate of the nation, whose legislative business has been long neglected. Once they read the minds of the people, normalization of the National Assembly has to be hastened by all means.

The special session went down the drain, while the regular session has been wasted for nearly a month. Inasmuch as the two sides concur on the necessity of opening the legislative chamber soon, they ought not to waste more time over trivial matters.

Toward that end, a meeting of the two party leaders should come as soon as possible. We have not forgotten the bad old experience that what was intended to be politics of "symbiosis" gave way to politics of "internecine conflict" in no time.

It might be that the encounter between top party leaders is not a cure-all. However, the enormous pressure of time and business permits no delay in resuming the National Assembly session. The two leaders are expected to meet and address the exigencies of the day right away. There is little room for them to haggle over minor technicalities of the meeting.