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ABC of Politics; Capture the Heart of the Public

Posted June. 19, 2002 23:14,   


The Korean squad beat the Azzuri and advanced into the quarterfinals!

The heart-chilling victory captured the heart of all Koreans and showed how explosive the energy of touching people was.

Ultimately, politics is also aimed at touching people. But what is now happening in the political arena after the local elections is, not to mention touching, disgusting the public.

The opposition Grand National Party (GNP) is keeping a low-profile for fear that the public might give a cold shoulder to it while the ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) is suffering from internal feuds in the aftermath of the crushing defeat in the local elections. Both parties are putting aside their ultimate goal to impress people and scrambling to maintain the status quo and save faces. Under these circumstances, none of both parties will be able to capture the heart of the public in the upcoming presidential election.

The message the local elections sent is that election is not a competition between candidates. Only those who can impress the public win election. In this vein, all political parties are losers. Mudslinging did not work any more. The voter turnout was pathetic.

The public indeed made a stern judgment. Then who can claim a victory?

Let`s look at the result of the elections. The GNP garnered 52

5 of the total ballots followed by the MDP with 29%, the Democratic Labor Party (DLP) with 8% and the United Liberal Democrats (ULD) with 6%. It looks pretty good at a glance. But the voter turnout was a mere 48%, less than half the 3,400 eligible voters.

It means that the GNP was supported by less than 30% and the MDP less than 20% of the total voters.

It is so disappointing that despite the stern judgment from the public, political parties have been busy providing photo-ops for the elected. Did political parties take the local elections as a public survey on the way to the presidential election? If so, they are making a big mistake. The local election is an official examination to choose public servants who serve their constituencies best. And the elected are the very people who can recover the nose-diving public support.

Thus, the first thing the party leaders should do is holding a meeting with the elected to deliverer on their election pledges. That should be the basic strategy for the presidential election.

It is nothing new to say, but the most fearful competitor is not competitors or rival parties but voters and people. The likelihood to win is higher for a candidate who can see through this basic. Candidates should stop pointing fingers at each other and spend as much time and efforts to impress people. Voters put the chill on candidates who groundlessly slandered their rivals. It should not also be overlooked that the public itself punished a series of corruptions scandals involving the President`s sons, and that the public itself dealt a serious blow to the ruling party. Voters are no longer who they were in the past. They are consumers who only purchase "political products" that can do them good.

Before committing themselves to presidency, presidential candidates should look back at themselves and check whether they are fully prepared.

First, presidential candidates should check whether they are willing to accept a variety of elements of the society. You might raise a question here. You might say that it is too ambiguous to accept this and that altogether. But this is what presidential hopefuls exactly need in their competition. They should not draw the line, accept what they please, and reject what they displease. Since the upcoming presidential election will be held amid unprecedented social division, it will be a competition to single out the man of high caliber.

The fundamental of political leadership is the power to touch the public. As witnessed in the World Cup games, people are moved when their confidence and ego are strengthened. Political parties and candidates failed to move people in the local elections.

It remains to be seen the two rival parties will be equipped with the ability to impress the public in the future. Politics should be able to inspire the public. It should be the starting point to bring new life into elections on life-support.