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[Editorial] Young Members of Ruling Party Should Change Their Minds

[Editorial] Young Members of Ruling Party Should Change Their Minds

Posted December. 24, 2004 22:42,   


President Roh Moo-hyun reportedly touched on the controversial four reform bills at a dinner meeting with the ruling Uri party leadership, saying, “Let’s take it easy and resolve the issue step by step.” Regarding the National Security Law, he is said to have noted, “It is a law that has ruled our nation for long, so how could it be changed overnight?” adding, “Now the economy should come first.”

It is all the more welcome that President Roh has changed his perception on the condition of the country. This editorial has stressed at various times that resuscitating the economy and people’s livelihoods should be the top priority in national governance. Our view can be traced back to our firm belief that there was no good reason for the nation’s leaders to push for enforcement of the four reform bills at a time like this when the public’s daily livelihood is in a dire condition. This editorial has long argued that if the public genuinely wants the president and ruling party members to fully talk with the opposition parties and resolve the issue after consensus, they should.

The problem is how to act on his words. President Roh in fact, said while addressing the nation early this year, “I will seek to reinvigorate the economy.” Yet, he has not kept his word. His recent words at a dinner meeting should not be empty rhetoric this time. In this regard, the young group in the ruling Uri party should change its mind, too. Reports have it that the group dismissed the President’s remark: “Let’s take it easy” as, “His words must have been exaggerated by others,” a reaction hard to understand. If group members were serious enough to take care of the ordinary public’s anger at least once, they wouldn’t have reacted that way.

It is also not right for some party members to have argued for “a complete abolition of the national security law within the year” and to have stepped forward to demand four-person-talks with the main opposition Grand National Party be halted. Now is the time when meaningful discussions are being made on the national security law and a bill to shed light on past events, a valuable opportunity that should never be missed. In this sense, the party members’ disruption of the talks cannot be justified in any case.

The ruling party has a responsibility to bring hope to the public, particularly when it has majority seats in the National Assembly. The party should be able to encourage the public to at least hope that things will get better in the upcoming New Year. If it has not learned a single lesson after wasting its valuable time in disintegrating the nation and focusing on unproductive reform talks for the past two years since inauguration, it does not deserve to be a ruling party. What is required of its members is not to sit idly for demonstration purposes, but to go out and talk with ordinary citizens to see what is urgently needed. They should ask what the authorities’ urgent tasks are.