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[Editorial] Uri Party Should Give a Second Thought on Railroading the Reform Bills

[Editorial] Uri Party Should Give a Second Thought on Railroading the Reform Bills

Posted November. 29, 2004 23:39,   


The ruling Uri Party has recently changed its stance on the four reform bills to pass them by year-end. It is a step in the wrong direction considering that the public wants the issue to be settled based on mutual consensus between the ruling and opposition camps, even if it will take more time. The ruling party should understand that railroading of the bills could disrupt the politics of the country, and a heated debate over the issue could bring about huge damage to the nation.

It is deplorable that moderates within the party failed to push through their argument in the process of discussion. Their initial position was right in that the party should deal with the economic and bread-and-butter bills first and then take care of the four reform bills later according to the circumstances. That was consistent with the public opinion, as the public complained that the ruling party is preoccupied with the four bills while people are suffering from dire economic conditions. Now such a complaint is on the verge of explosion.

Chun Jung-bae, floor leader of the Uri Party, has even proposed to deal with a compromise entitled the “3+1 plan” in which the party sets aside the abolition of the National Security Law and deals initially with the other three bills together with the other bread-and-butter bills. However, the proposal was not accepted by hard-liners within the party who said a compromise would bring about confusion to the party’s identity.

Now Korea is in a dire situation. The public is roaring over its economic hardship. Youths have long abandoned hope for future, failing to land a job. It is outrageous that the ruling party is only concerned of its identity, under such circumstance. Whatever the “identity” means, it does not matter in any way, because it is the identity of a political party that turns a blind eye to public plights and is only obsessed with joining forces with its own supporters. Some explain that the party shows such an attitude because there is a severe competition among fractions within the party in the run-up to the party convention in March 2005. Then, it is all the more deplorable that the party is actually trying to strengthen its power at the expense of the people’s livelihood.

The Uri Party’s about-face might have been predictable when President Roh Moo-hyun said in a meeting in the presidential Blue House that the reform bill issue should be solely left to the hands of the National Assembly. The situation is no different from the past when the ruling party’s official opinion on the National Security Law abruptly shifted toward abolition after President Roh’s remark favoring repeal of the law.

It is not the right way of dealing with national affairs. President Roh and the ruling Uri Party should give a second thought on their position to conclude the reform bill issue by year-end. They should also focus on taking care of the bread-and-butter bill and the 2005 budget plan during the remaining days of this year’s National Assembly. That is the right way to serve the public. It is very hard to understand why they always want to oppose the public opinion.