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[Editorial] Cheong Wa Dae and the Ruling Party Should Go Hand in Hand

[Editorial] Cheong Wa Dae and the Ruling Party Should Go Hand in Hand

Posted January. 03, 2005 22:52,   


President Roh Moo-hyun said in a meeting, marking the new year, with government and ruling party members, “In this new year, serious social confrontations or crashes are unlikely.” His remark is hopeful as it sounds that he is determined to work for the integration of the public. However, a look at the ongoing serious discord within the ruling Uri Party breeds doubt over whether everything will turn out as the president predicts.

The leadership of the ruling Uri Party, including its chairman Lee Boo-young, resigned en masse, taking responsibility for its failure to pass the four reform bills. Chairman Lee pointed his finger at hard-liners in the party who have not budged a bit from their uncooperative stance by saying in his retirement speech, “This year, our party should take a line of dialogue and cooperation with the opposition parties, not of confrontation or conflict.”

Chances are high that the ruling and opposition parties will continue bickering with each other over the three bills that have not been settled in the special session of the National Assembly next month. That is because none of the sides is willing to give in and even if their floor leaders compromise and agree on the bills, it won’t be easy to ratify them. The hawkish members of the ruling party are now even feeling all the more obstinate.

A continued confrontation between the ruling and opposition parties would hinder efforts to resuscitate the economy and the public’s livelihood and integrate the public, which the president said he would mainly focus on in the new year. The reason is that, if that happens, not only will related bills not be dealt with at the right time but also those outside parties will try to have their say in the dispute, thereby throwing this entire nation into another unproductive ideology dispute.

It does not follow that we do not understand the president’s intention to “leave the issues in the National Assembly to the Assembly” as part of his effort to uproot an evil effect of monarchal presidency. However, the president should not sit idly any more now that the nation’s politics are in a mess, and one of its main causes lies in the absence of the governing party’s leadership and conflict and confrontation between its hawks and doves.

The president should think of ways to be a mediator with good intentions. A sight of the president repeating rhetoric about separation of the government and ruling party does not fit the reality where high-level party-government consultative meetings are being held time and again over national pending issues. The public is positively for the president’s plan to “prioritize recovery of the economy and public livelihoods.” Working to make this public sentiment felt by the party and the National Assembly is yet another job of his. Up to what point will the president and the ruling party stop matching each other? If this continues, our hope in this new year will only be a distant mirage.