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[Editorial] What Is the GNP’s Policy Identity?

Posted December. 03, 2005 04:48,   


The confusion caused by the Grand National Party in the final stage of budget deliberations and the passage of legislation on private affairs in the National Assembly compels us to question what identity and values the main opposition party, with 127 seats in the cabinet, seeks to preserve. It is neither conservative nor progressive; the only impression we get is a party of opportunistic “hodgepodge.”

The GNP had originally unveiled its ambitious plans to cut 8.9 trillion won in next year’s budget. However, after reducing the target to 7.8 trillion won, then 4 trillion won, the party again drove up the figure to 9 trillion won when people condemned the party for “dilly-dallying.” Moreover, it rushed to produce a heap of legislation to promote state-run projects worth trillions of won and readily displays contradictory practices such as adding “pork-barrel budgets” on the deliberation list of the Special Committee on Budget and Accounts.

Even worse, there is no consensus within the party on the tax base for comprehensive real estate tax, caught between 600 million and 900 million won. In addition, it only recently agreed to put the rice negotiation motion for voting in the plenary session in the National Assembly after a near-two month delay from the bill’s passage in the standing committee in October, being conscious of the farmers’ approval ratings. All of these are the result of being swayed by the public’s opinion in order to gain more votes without concrete policy objectives and a governance philosophy.

We believe that the GNP is greatly responsible for today’s systemic breakdown of the administration and the leftist populism prevalent across society by failing to serve as a role model for an alternative, authorized political party. Let alone creating and maintaining a virtue of reformist conservatism after two failures in presidential elections, it remains to be obsessive solely about removing the “conservative label” without efforts for renewal.

The GNP appears to be inspired by the 40 percent-range approval ratings gained on the rebound from people’s lost confidence in the incumbent administration. Unless the main opposition party is appreciated for its relative superiority over the ruling party with better policy packages and governance blueprints, all the support is nothing but a transient bubble.

Most importantly, the public will be frustrated if their hopes are once again shattered by the opposition party after the same experience with the ruling party and the government’s amateur-like management of public affairs. Although belatedly, the GNP must show the public how it goes out of its way to improve the fundamentals.