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[Editorial] Time to End Political Wrangling

Posted September. 01, 2002 22:49,   


Typhoon Rusa claimed dozens of lives, inundated tens of thousands of houses and cut electricity for hundreds of thousands of households. But lawmakers were obsessed with political tug-of-war, ignoring the havoc Rusa wrought. They were fiercely confronting with each other surrounding the no-confidence motion against Justice Minister Kim Jung-gil. They were no longer the representatives of the public.

As late as yesterday, the rival parties made much ado about the storm. Each party held an emergency meeting and came up with countermeasures such as earmarking supplementary budget and early declaration of special disaster areas. They were even scrambling to pledge the party-level support for those who are dislocated. But unless the parties sit down together in a bipartisan manner, these pledges and countermeasures will be end up ringing hollow with the dissipation of the storm.

Suh Chung-won, chairman of the Grand National Party rejected the proposal of Hahn Hwa-gap, chairman of the Millennium Democratic Party to meet each other. But he should think again. Now, a huge number of people are suffering from the aftermath of the storm and previous torrential rains. The landscape surrounding the Korean peninsula is showing signs of a sea change as North Korea and Japan agreed to hold historical summit talks. Thus, now is time to get the politics back on track.

As President Kim`s tenure is closing to an end the discipline in the officialdom has significantly loosened. Here, the National Assembly has a role to play in filling the vacuum in running state affairs. Since the public has little expectation for the government`s ability to run state affairs. Politicians should try even harder to meet the public expectations. The ordinary session of the National Assembly opens today. Politicians should get action for dialogue in order to dispel the public concerns over possible derailment of the National Assembly, which curtails its session because of the upcoming presidential election.

First, the MDP should make an apology for physically banning Parliamentary Speaker Park Gwan-yong`s attendance in the National Assembly. Then the GNP should accept the MDP`s proposal for a leadership meeting with no strings attached in order to end the political dispute. The two leaders of the rival parties should declare the end of the war of nerve and join forces together to provide support for the dislocated. This is the only way for the political sector to give a ray of hope to the public.