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Possible Absence of Ruling Party Poses Concerns Over Paralysis In State Affairs

Possible Absence of Ruling Party Poses Concerns Over Paralysis In State Affairs

Posted September. 08, 2003 23:03,   


As a breakup of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party has become an accomplished fact, leaving the nation with no ruling party, concerns are rising over a possible disruption in managing state affairs properly because of the absence of a negotiating party.

Cheong Wa Dae and the government decided Monday to work on measures to deal with a possible disruption in state affairs management at a cabinet meeting to be held on Sept 8. They are concerned that should such a thing take place during the regular assembly session, acting on various pending reform bills and next year`s budget proposal at the National Assembly will be delayed.

Such critical bills as security-related class action lawsuit bill and a ratification motion on a free trade agreement between South Korea and Chile are now pending at the National Assembly.

However, considering that a breakup of the MDP is highly likely to happen at mid-October, consultations on party affairs within the ruling party is almost impossible and the possibility that all political parties may become opposition ones can not be ruled out at this moment. Against this backdrop, the government is taking pains to come up with countermeasures to cope with these possible situations.

In particular, the government and the opposition Grand National Party seem to take a head-on collision course in the wake of the passage of a dismissal bill against home affairs minister Kim Doo-kwan. In addition, on top of strained relationship with the GNP, should MDP old guards, who are critical of President Roh Moo-hyun, take an aggressive political offensive against Mr. Roh and his government, joining hands with the opposition party, there is a chance that not only critical bills but next year`s budget proposal bill will go adrift.

Furthermore, there are mounting concerns over the possibility that the parliamentary audit, which starts Sept 22, will not be carried out properly. That is because should a new party complete a registration as a floor negotiation group, a new line-up on parliamentary standing committees will be required according to the proportion of each party`s parliamentary seat holdings.

The government is expected to find some difficulties in discussing political issues with the ruling MDP. Although, the prime minister`s office is now taking a position on continuous consultations with the MDP on political issues for now in accordance with revised prime ministerial directives bills. The bills state that as long as the president keeps the MDP`s registration, the government will continue consultations with the ruling party on political matters.

In a related move, former director of the MDP`s policy planning committee Chung Sae-kyun, who has expressed his intention to join in a move to create a new party, argued that taking into account prime ministerial directives, a new party should be given a right to have policy consultations with the government because there are no major differences in its policies with the MDP. At this moment, the government is planning to build cooperative relationships with the three parties by introducing an American-style presidential system. However, it is inevitable for the government to face difficulties to push ahead with its agenda properly due to the absence of a ruling party to support the president`s policies.

Reportedly, Cheong Wa Dae is now working on strategies to cope with a possible paralysis in dealing with state affairs. Among the strategies are that the president abandons the MDP`s registration to run the state in a by-partisan manner or the president maintains policy consultations with a new party while keeping the MDP`s registration.

Jeong-Hun Kim Seung-Ryun Kim jnghn@donga.com srkim@donga.com