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The Ruling and Opposition Camps Are Drawing Parallel Lines

The Ruling and Opposition Camps Are Drawing Parallel Lines

Posted November. 29, 2004 22:55,   


“We should pass the bills by year-end, but also pay attention to public opinion before doing so…. ”

The ruling Uri Party is determined to conclude the issue of the four reform bills, including the abolition of the National Security Law, until the end of this year. In reality, however, the party is under enormous pressure since it would have to take over some political responsibilities if it tries to railroad the bills that are facing harsh opposition from the Grand National Party.

Some argue that the ruling party should pass the bills by forceful means, if needed, citing that delaying the legislation does not help to make a breakthrough in the current standoff, and it is uncertain whether the party can maintain a majority of seats in the provisional session of the National Assembly in February.

A core member of the party described voices of hard-liners within the party, saying that the public opinion on three of the four bills—the Past History Law, the Private School Law, and the Media Law, excluding the abolition of the National Security Law— is on the party’s side.

Regarding the abolition of the National Security Law, on the other hand, the party has decided not to railroad the bill.

However, the party leadership is deeply concerned over the possibility that the party could be blamed for putting the bread-and-butter-issue on the backburner, while excessively concentrating on the legislation. Furthermore, as it is highly likely that the party will clash head-on with the opposition GNP over the issue, some are strongly arguing that the leadership should take time and resolve the issue more calmly.

Concerning next year’s budget, the ruling party has made it clear that it would deal with the issue separately with the legislation, not swayed by the GNP’s tactic of tying up the issue with the legislation. In particular, the party has announced that it would not respond the GNP’s request to submit it the post of the chief of the Audit Division of the Special Committee on Budget and Accounts. The Uri Party said it made this decision because giving the post to the opposition is unprecedented, and it takes such a request as the opposition’s tactic to thwart the legislation by refusing to attend the National Assembly until the demand is met.

The ruling party is also planning to propose an expansive fiscal policy in next year’s budget. However, it is keen to the public opinion regarding the budget and reform bill issue, as it would be burdensome to the party if it opens the National Assembly alone without participation from the opposition camp.

The party said that it will discuss and coordinate the bread-and-butter bill with the opposition, separately from the budget, and put it to a vote in case the opposition is persistently against the bill.

Young-Hae Choi yhchoi65@donga.com