Posted May. 31, 2005 06:55,
The Uri Party held a workshop at the Muju Resort Jeonbuk province on May 30 to discuss the reestablishment of the partys identity and the enhancement of popularity for the party after its failure in the by-election on April 30.
The partys leadership called for a stoppage of debate on practices versus reform lines regarding the Partys identity, but reform-oriented people and outside speakers say the retreat in reforms is one of the major reasons for the decline in the partys popularity. One observer strongly criticized, The governments wrong economic policies stimulate the peoples loss of trust in the ruling party, which gave rise to much debate.
The Partys Identity-
Moon Hui-sang, chairman of the Party, said in his speech: Lets terminate the debate on reform versus practices today, and continued on to say, Reform is an unavoidable mission of this era, and practice is a strategy to successfully undertake the reform. His point was that reform and practice are two sides of a coin that cannot be separated, and asking which is more important will end up with a debate without a right answer.
Uri Partys Floor Leader Jung Se-kyun added, The opposite word for reform is conservatism, not utilitarianism. Thus, we should keep pursuing reform by coming up with practical policies and alternative measures.
Kim Heon-tae, the president of the Korea Society Opinion Institute, gave a presentation in the politics segment of the meeting and warned, Reform cannot be called as such when it is not being practical. The Uri Party will be broken up when debates on the partys identity are always stuck to the framework of conservatism versus utilitarianism.
On the other hand, Jung Hae-gu, a professor at Sungkongheo University, criticized the utilitarian policy line by saying, The utilitarianism the Uri Party has supported all along is meaningless in terms of solving fast-worsening social polarization in economic terms.
The Reason Why the Uri Party Is Losing Popularity-
Kim Heon-tae summarized the Uri Partys image as inability, negligence, and confusion. And he pointed out the partys absence of leadership, the failure of the party to establish policies, and the partys policy line as the major backdrop behind the partys loss of popularity. He also identified another problem of the Uri Party triggered by failing to create a new front line as a substitute for the collapsed previous one named the framework of democracy versus anti-democracy.
He pinpointed other reasons for the Uri Partys falling popularity: an excessive dependence on Jeollanamdo and Chungcheong provinces, a weakening support basis in Jeollanamdo and Chungcheong provinces, and a dispersed popularity base that comes from sharing existing support from highly educated and white-collar voters with the 386-generation of the Democratic Labor Party.
Park Byung-seok, who presented reasons for the Uri Partys failure in the by-election on April 30, pointed out the problem of an absence of leadership in the party by citing The partys leadership is weak and there is no star.
Jung Hae-gu analyzed, The easy slogan of obtaining majority seats in the assembly and the partys giving up of policy lines in the nomination process increased peoples political hatred of the Uri Party, which gave rise to supporters leaving.
Criticism Over the Economic Crisis-
Han Duck-soo, the deputy prime minister and minister of Finance and Economy, said in a speech on Koreas current economic situation that the economic growth rate of 2.7 percent for the first quarter was below original expectations in quantitative terms. However, the continuing growth in expenditure items including consumption and investment will support an improvement of the overall economic situation after the second quarter.
Rep. Jang Kyung-soo strongly criticized this, saying, The peoples complaints are growing with tax rates very high and oil prices rising. The Uri Party is a latecomer in coming up with policies for tax cuts when the Grand National Party supports policies for tax cuts as well.
Rep. Kim Chun-jin said, The real economic condition people feel is very low. And now is the time to make an economic decision to increase employment for people ousted from the social safety net.