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President Roh Suggests Grand Coalition Negotiations with Opposition

President Roh Suggests Grand Coalition Negotiations with Opposition

Posted August. 19, 2005 03:04,   


President Roh Moo-hyun announced on August 18 that he would “officially suggest political negotiations with the opposition” regarding his proposal of a “grand coalition” with the biggest opposition party, the Grand National Party (GNP).

At a luncheon meeting at Cheong Wa Dae today with chief political columnists of 27 major newspapers, President Roh made it clear that he would continue his efforts to form a grand coalition despite the GNP’s rejection of his proposal.

It might be difficult, however, to find a compromise point over the presidential suggestion, as GNP Chairwoman Park Geun-hye had dismissed the idea, saying, “[Discussion of a coalition government] is over. There is no reason for further negotiations as the GNP has already clarified its position.”

The president pointed out, “Korea’s politics will be further advanced when the Grand National Party opposes our suggestion with a more profound theory that regional politics or a minority government is not problematic at all.” He also cited, “A coalition government and a pan-national cabinet are not that different from each other. Even so, the opposition says it will not accept a grand coalition while it frequently suggests forming a pan-national cabinet.”

When it came to the National Intelligence Service (NIS)’s wiretapping during the Kim Dae-jung administration, President Roh said, “When it was initially reported, I thought that someone in the Agency for National Security Planning (ANSP), or the predecessor of the NIS, might have done something bad again. I did not expect full-fledged eavesdropping efforts at the governmental level,” adding that he himself was “quite perplexed when the incidents, when disclosed afterwards, were transformed into an enormous scandal against the government as a whole.”

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com