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[Editorial] A Year of No Political Strife: Expecting Grand Cooperation

[Editorial] A Year of No Political Strife: Expecting Grand Cooperation

Posted January. 19, 2005 23:07,   


Main opposition Grand National Party chairwoman Park Geun-hye proposed the government declare 2005 a year of “no political strife.” She proposed a meeting with President Roh Moo-hyun. The chairwoman also said that she would accept an “advanced society pact” for advancement of the economy and national unity which the ruling Uri Party`s interim leader Lim Chae-jung proposed. That means that the ruling and opposition camps will make a joint effort to revitalize people’s livelihoods and the economy. It seems to be a step in the right direction.

However, its effect remains to be seen. Although the ruling and opposition have stressed no political strife, a suprapartisan focus on the economy, and mutually beneficial politics, too often these emphases have rung hollow. It is high time that political circles should avoid disappointing the public through grand cooperation.

As Chairwoman Park aptly expressed, Korean society is facing an “emergency situation of the people’s livelihoods”. This is probably why President Roh set the revitalization of the economy as the first priority on this year’s national agenda. Under the circumstances, political circles should focus on recovering the economy. As a starter, the Special Session of the National Assembly in February should be the “National Assembly for people’s Livelihoods.” Lawmakers should not repeat last year’s situation in which they continued counterproductive conflicts over bills which had nothing to do with people’s livelihoods like the abolition of the National Security Law. To that end, politicians should demonstrate wisdom with which they find middle ground over controversial bills with high potential for political strife, taking time to find a solution. Instead, they should concentrate on ways to revive public livelihoods, like improvement of the public’s living quality, revitalization of companies, and finding a breakthrough solution for sluggish domestic consumption.

It seems that the atmosphere is already made. It is a rare good omen that the leadership of both ruling and opposition camps shared their ideas and traded positive responses toward each other’s New Year’s press briefing. It is important to keep this atmosphere. Chung Wa Dae also has no reason for declining the proposed leadership meeting with the GNP chairwoman.

But political strife is one thing, policy competition is another. The ruling and opposition parties should present good policies before the pubic and compete with each other. In particular, the main opposition GNP should point out if there is any mismanagement on the government part. When policy competition is lively, there is no room for political strife.