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[Editorial] Ruling Party Hints at Political Reform?

Posted January. 12, 2003 22:22,   


Chief presidential secretary-elect Mun Hee-sang recently made a series of subtle remarks about a political reform - ˝I believe it would be okay to form a new party with existing party members as long as people approve the idea.˝ and ˝We cannot stop a new party from arising.˝ These remarks indicate that the ruling party is increasingly pinning its hopes on a political reform. Their drive, in turn, is provoking the opposition party and sparking concern and uncertainty.

Although Mun added, ˝We do not intend to and will not be able to make an offer to members of the opposition party to form a new party,˝ it did not sound convincing. What draws attention instead is ˝We might go through a seismic change before the general election.˝ Given his standing with the new government, in particular, the ruling party might already have crafted a reform program.

The release of the results of an opinion poll suggesting that majority of the people wanted the established political parties to be reshuffled also seems to aim at some lawmakers at the opposition party. The same happened five years ago with the incumbent government. While denying the possibility of reshuffling of the established parties, they continued to make their case by emphasizing the difficulties the outnumbered government was facing. Within the ruling party, they were divided between those favoring consolidation of regions and those supporting the idea of united reformers, they ended up inviting individuals interested in joining the ruling party just for the `number`.

There are striking similarities between now and then. Mun was a key figure among political reform advocates five years ago and he is now. We remember that he said at that time, ˝They fear a lion although it wanders around hiding its claws.˝ We also remember that the relationship between the ruling and opposition party went badly sour as the ruling party invited members of the opposition party and the prosecutor`s office began what was called witch hunting investigations.

As the public grows aware of the politics, they will not approve the idea of forming a new party aimed at increasing the number of ruling party members and the tactic of skillfully manipulating the public opinions. The new government must avoid following in the footsteps of its predecessor that was too reliant on public opinions, which tend to readily change. Whether a political reform is inevitable or not will be decided by the results of the general election next year.