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[Editorial] Existing Policies Cannot Resolve Confusion Over Administrative Capital

[Editorial] Existing Policies Cannot Resolve Confusion Over Administrative Capital

Posted March. 02, 2005 22:40,   


The public is confused to see how the draft bill on the administrative capital is being processed in the National Assembly. As a long-term national agenda, the bill is associated with the customary constitution. It is questionable whether the bill that caused fierce opposition and strikes from some opposition lawmakers could gain support from a majority of people, and constitutionality from the constitutional court.

Both the ruling and opposition camps have tactics, but show no signs of responsible reflection on efficiency and vision of management of a country. The bill is tantamount to worsening of the existing law in terms of efficiency. The “division of a capital” proposed in the bill is internationally unprecedented with the president and the National Assembly stationed in Seoul, and the prime minister and most administrative departments and agencies based in another city.

Worse yet, the new bill was not presented for public debate and only superficially discussed in the National Assembly. The ruling and opposition camps decided which agencies should move to another city based on their own interests. As they revealed the plan without drawing up countermeasures for the possible hollowing-out of Gwacheon city, Gwacheon citizens are raising complaining voices. The government should not rush to make a decision on the issue of the administrative capital, which requires consideration on post-unification. The issue of building the administrative capital is such a crucial part of the national agenda that an administration that has only three years before the end of its term would find it difficult just to draw up the blueprint.

The constitutional court concluded, “A capital is in the realm of the customary constitution and the center of administration, including the president, should be in the capital.” It is time for the government to discuss an alternative again, respecting the decision of the constitutional court, rather than rush to push the issue forward.

The ruling party failed to show a responsible attitude on the national affairs, while the fragmented opposition camp is now involved in infighting after being swayed by the ruling party. Under the circumstances, the government should proceed with a constitutional revision and present the issue for a referendum to prevent division of public opinion and confusion of national affairs.

The constitutional court decided that building the administrative capital would be unconstitutional as recently as a few months ago. Such a rushed bill would fall short of changing the decision. Also, there would be no way to compensate the public, including Chungcheong residents, for repeated disappointment and confusion over the issue. The bill on the administrative capital should be carefully discussed for an ample period of time.