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President Roh: “Those Who Reject My Proposal Will Not Succeed”

President Roh: “Those Who Reject My Proposal Will Not Succeed”

Posted July. 30, 2005 03:06,   


On July 29, President Roh Moo-hyun explained in detail the background of his suggestion to form a grand coalition with the major opposition Grand National Party (GNP) by transferring power, saying that he “definitely wants to overhaul the electoral system for the future of the nation, even if it means [the President] has to give up power.”

President Roh, on the previous day, proposed a grand coalition in a letter to members of Uri Party that he posted on the official website of Cheong Wa Dae. In line with this move, he held an emergency press meeting on July 29 at the presidential press center of Chunchugwan, where he emphasized, “The grand-coalition proposal is a benefit in return; what I am really trying to suggest is creating an electoral system that can resolve the issue of regionalism.”

In response, the leadership of the ruling Uri Party expressed support, hinting that they are willing to engage in negotiations with the GNP, while it seems that some other party members, including lawmakers of the 386 generation, are protesting the plan. The GNP and other opposition parties were also negative, saying, “You cannot fix the problem of regional politics simply by changing the electoral system.”

Asked what would be an electoral system that could relieve regionalism, President Roh said, “Most [of the current electoral systems] are region-specific or German-style systems of proportional representation,” implying that it would be desirable to adopt region-specific or German-style proportional representation systems even when the current single-member district system is maintained.

“The reason why Koreans elected me president was not the belief that I would deal with economy or foreign affairs well,” said President Roh on this day. He even made a somewhat harsh remark: “Those who do not listen to, or even reject, this suggestion will find it difficult to achieve political success in the future.”

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com