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[Editorial] No more partisan showdown of strength

Posted October. 02, 2000 20:59,   


With the parliament in paralysis, only extreme partisan confrontations between the ruling and opposition parties seem to preside over our politics.

Nor is there any concern for the people, who should occupy the central place in the nation's politics. What remains is only the partisan bickering and the spirit of ultimate showdown between the ruling and opposition parties, which are adamant not to budge an inch for the other side.

The opposition party denounces the ruling party leader for his arrogance and bigotry while the ruling party blames the opposition leader for his obsession with his presidential ambitions. In the process, the day-to-day life of the everyday people suffers from disarray, pain and losses. The upshot here is that it makes both the ruling and opposition parties equal losers. Lamentably, this describes Korea's stark political realities of the new millennium despite the loud calls of our leaders and politicians for an initiation of new politics.

In our view, opposition party leader Lee Hoi-Chang's repeated, unconditional calls for an inter-party summit can provide momentum to create a meaningful watershed for the resolution of the stalemated political status quo. When Lee made the first call for the summit last week, the ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) virtually turned it down by adding the condition that there should be, first, an inter-party meeting for both parties' major office-holders before Lee's proposed summitry.

We realize that the inter-party summit cannot be a panacea to resolve the present political stalemate in view of their deep-seated distrust of each other. It may, indeed, be better for them not to meet than meet together in view of bitter past experiences when they became greater archenemies after they met to talk about political co-existence and co-operation.

But, the nation's deplorable state of affairs cannot afford us to worry about the inter-party summit's possible, adverse turnout, nor are we in a leisurely position to argue about formalities or formats of the two parties' summit, as there are numerous urgent bills that are essential for ordinary people's daily living that still await the parliament's passage. Besides, many gravely important matters such as the South-North issues that will have decisive bearing on the nation's future destiny make it imperative for us to reach a national consensus on them, yet we are failing to do that.

Needless to say, the ruling party is responsible, foremost, for the deplorable state of affairs. For, the party has been the root cause of the recent troubles which include the railroading of the revision bill for the National Assembly Law as to cause parliamentary paralysis; the attempt to minimize the report of unlawful election spending as well as the intervention in the spending probes; and Hanvit Bank's unlawful loan scandal.

The just course of the ruling party's action here should have been the offering of an apology for its blunders together with the assurance to prevent their future occurrence but this was not done. Blind faith in the rules of parliamentary procedures at the total disregard of the root cause for the parliamentary deadlock can hardly be regarded as helpful or rational methods to resolve the stalemated situation. President Kim Dae-Jung and the ruling MDP must display leadership to reactivate the nation's staggering politics from a greater and forward-looking perspective.

As opposition leader Lee rightly pointed out, the inter-party summit is not something that can or should be brought about by his unilateral gesture to beg for the meeting. Nor is it right that the ruling party abuses the public's pressure for the early parliamentary normalization by trying to force the opposition party to accept the MDP's terms for unconditional return to the parliamentary chamber. This is surely like asking the opposition party to raise a flag of total surrender.

Such a partisan showdown of strength at the disregard of the people must immediately be stopped. The opposition Grand National Party should now launch parallel political fights through debates and deliberations at the parliamentary chamber as well as political protests on the street.

Opposition leader Lee might just as well be advised here to realize that his party lawmakers' return to the parliament regardless of his request for the inter-party summit may well be another way to win his political fight.