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[Editorial] End the Dispute Over Coalition Government, Begin Politics for The People

[Editorial] End the Dispute Over Coalition Government, Begin Politics for The People

Posted September. 08, 2005 07:28,   


The meeting between President Roh Moo-hyun and Grand National Party Chairwoman Park Geun-hye produced no results, with both leaders maintaining their own views. In yesterday’s meeting at Cheong Wa Dae, the president made an unexpected offer of forming a “bipartisan cabinet for the sake of people’s livelihood,” a modified version of his coalition government proposal, but Chairwoman Park refused the offer. They also failed to iron out their differences regarding the issue of a constituency system, with President Roh suggesting an early start to negotiations, and the opposition leader suggesting a rearrangement of administrative districts.

President Roh rebutted Chairwoman Park’s critical view that the Korean economy is in bankruptcy and blamed the previous administration for today’s economic polarization. However, he is certainly to blame for adding burdens to the already suffering general public by bogging down the entire political process with his pursuit of a coalition government for the past three months. And by shifting his stance from “the implementation of a new constituency system aimed at overcoming regionalism” to “the forming of a bipartisan cabinet for the sake of the people’s livelihood,” he only increased confusion among the public.

The worsening of our economic conditions is neither because of the parliament under the control of the opposition parties, nor regionalism, nor the absence of a cabinet beyond partisanship. But it is attributable to the irresponsibility of high-ranking policymakers, populist governance, and impractical, excessive political wrangling. The Grand National Party should also be held responsible in that it lacks the vision to serve the interests of the people.

President Roh has come under attack regarding the issue of a coalition government. Some accused him of pursuing “guided democracy,” citing that he has tried to “cram” his own idea down the general public’s throat and ignored party politics, the foundation of democracy. The president should focus his efforts on boosting the people’s livelihood since it has become clear that the forming of a bipartisan cabinet as well as a coalition government will not be possible.

In the meeting, President Roh promised the opposition leader he would “accept proposals from the Grand National Party if they are reasonable” in the future. In this regard, I hope he will heed Chairwoman Park’s call for reducing unnecessary government spending, and other suggestions.

The Grand National Party, for its part, should also refrain from unconditionally opposing the government to reap benefits for itself, and aggressively engage in efforts to develop policy alternatives. Both the government and the opposition parties should acknowledge that only those who win the hearts and minds of the people will have a viable future.