Posted December. 21, 2004 23:04,
The heads and floor leaders of the ruling and opposition parties came together yesterday to hold four-way talks, searching for ways to normalize the National Assembly. Taking place only 10 days before the end of the year, it goes without saying that the meeting of party leaders should provide an opportunity to escape the stalemate that has been consuming the National Assembly for a long time.
Many issues must be dealt with in the National Assembly, and all issues are pressing. Among them, the budget deliberation regarding the contents of next years budget is the most important. However, deliberation between the ruling and opposition parties has not begun in earnest, even while exceeding the legal deadline by 20 days. The ruling party is unilaterally holding meetings of the adjustment factor subcommittee under the Special Committee on Budget and Account. The ruling and opposition parties should exert efforts to cooperate in substantial deliberations. With things being prolonged as they have, the parties should work night and day if necessary to thoroughly discuss matters.
The act on the extension of the troop dispatch to Iraq is a critical issue that could impact national interest, including Korea-U.S. relations. If it is not passed in time, the troops may have to pack and return home. Many other pressing acts that could help revive the economy should also be dealt with as soon as possible.
There is a clear cause of the National Assemblys gridlock, and that is the four major reform plans being pushed forward by the ruling party. The conflict and confrontation surrounding these four acts have made the National Assembly neglect the many issues it should be dealing with. Even at this moment, some legislators of three ruling and oppositions parties are staging a demonstration at the National Assembly calling for the passage or blocking of these acts.
The current situation must not continue. The ruling party, late though it is, should withdraw its hard-line stance that the four acts should be forcibly passed within this year. Political negotiations, in which some bills are passed while others are left for next year, are also not an option. The ruling party should not rush but take time to discuss and reach a consensus with the opposition parties. This is the publics sentiment and the rational solution for the current situation. The Grand National Party should return to the National Assembly. Pressing issues, such as the budget deliberation, act for peoples livelihoods and the act on the extension of the troop dispatch to Iraq should no longer be sacrificed in political haggling.