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[Editorial] Vulcanizing the Country

Posted October. 17, 2004 23:06,   


At a general meeting of its lawmakers, the Uri Party confirmed again that it would push through the four major bills: the repeal of the National Security Law, the historical fact-finding law, the law on private institutions and the law on the press. Whether the four bills will be passed or not will be determined by year-end if they are submitted early this month as scheduled.

We are worrying and concerned. What do they attempt to achieve by pushing through these bills that an absolute majority of the public opposes? They should reconsider unless they resort to the majority of seats they control and railroad the bills through. They should avoid cast another shadow over the already-tough public livelihood with a stalled National Assembly or an intensified political standoff, which they would risk by pushing these bills through. They should not waste precious time like this.

Although they call the bills reform legislation, they are, to put it correctly, controversial proposals. The bills need to be debated more to win public consensus. And it is not that the country will perish immediately unless the four proposals pass into law. Even for the NSL, 80 percent of the public opposes its repeal. They call the bills reform bills because they are proposing them.

Some clauses of the legislation proposals are rather anti-reform because they cause conflict and division. As for the law on the media, it includes an unprecedented clause capping shares in the ownership of particular newspapers. The law on private institutions itself is unthinkable if they want to put private schools in the hands of a particular teachers’ organization, marring education with ideology and achieving a brand of “downward egalitarianism.”

The reason why the party is attempting to push through anti-liberal democracy, anti-free market bills is that the ruling party is completely biased in its view that it solely represents good while its opponents represent evil. Otherwise, we are not sure whether there is another stratagem. Some rumors in the political world claim that the ruling party will hamstring the opposition party and the conservatives with the four bills and attempt to achieve its ultimate goal of superseding the mainstream of society.

Genuine reform won’t happen this way. The party should find ways to earn a public consensus with dialogue and compromise. The ruling party, which has never had a real dialogue with the Grand National Party, the largest opposition party, has neither the justification nor the power to push through these bills.