Go to contents

[Editorial] No Room for Parliamentary Politics

Posted January. 02, 2005 22:39,   


Floor leader of the Uri Party Cheon Jeong-bae has resigned. There are talks that Lee Bu-young, the leader of the Uri Party, and Kim Deok-ryong, the floor leader of the Grand National Party, will also be reprimanded as the hard-liners of each party are reproaching them for not having dealt well with the opposite party on controversial bills including the National Security Law.

After tough negotiations, the New Year’s state budget and the motion to extend the troop deployment in Iraq have been endorsed, but parliamentary politics has been lost at the end of last year. During the negotiations on the controversial bills, the two parties repeatedly reached an agreement and later withdrew from it. Even though leaders of the two parties met and agreed on bills in several meetings, the general representatives meeting opposed the bill and the negotiations came to nothing. In the case of the controversial National Security Law, the representatives should have accepted the proposal that the National Assembly Speaker and leading representatives of each party made in order to arbitrate the dispute. The controversy that led the whole country into confusion could have been settled and the country would have started the New Year that way. However, because the ruling party’s general representatives opposed it in the meeting, Korea lost that chance.

The basis of parliamentary politics is negotiation and compromise. The ruling party is the one with the say. Before the four leaders’ meeting started, the leader of the ruling party said, “The ruling party comes to the negotiation table to give, not take.” If he should resign for making concessions and the agreement can be broken, negotiations and compromise would be meaningless. The very existence of parliamentary politics would be in jeopardy.

In either the ruling or the opposition party, the hard-liners are the problem. They represent old politics, such as withdrawing from agreements, asserting without compromise, using violent language, disclosing groundless scandals, and seizing others by the throat. Another serious problem is that the leadership of each party is missing, so they cannot mediate the differences among their own party, but they just follow what the hawks say. This year, they have to change. Instead of the hard-liners, who cannot help the people’s livelihood and stir up ideological disputes instead, the moderates, who respect conversations and negotiations, should be given power. It is needless to say that the negotiation table ought to be arranged often, and the results should be respected.

President Roh Moo-hyun said in his New Year’s message: “Coexistence, common solidarity, concessions and compromise.” Those four principles should be reflected in the process of negotiations on the three controversial bills: the National Security Law, bills on past wrongdoings and the bill to regulate private schools. People are having hard times as concern for the public welfare is missing. The hawks need to be afraid of the people’s eyes on them.