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Uri Party Split on Private School Law

Posted September. 02, 2006 07:00,   


In regard to the revision of the private school law, some changes in the dynamics have been detected within the governing Uri Party.

Although the leadership of the party is insisting on maintaining the "open board of directors system," the core of the school reform law, there is a growing voice within the party suggesting the need to revise the school law. For instance, Rep. Yoo Jay-kun on Thursday called for amending the law in public, claiming unconstitutional elements in it.

“I will deliver my opinion over the school reform law to the party. I believe the open board of directors system must not be mandatory,” Yoo said during an exclusive interview with the Dong-A Ilbo. Prior to this, Uri Rep. Ahn Young-keun also expressed his support for revising the school law on Aug. 22, 2006 at a luncheon meeting of the ChristianNGO, a protestant non-governmental organization.

Their demand for the amendment reflects their pragmatic attitude. Those lawmakers who are referred to as pragmatists in the party believe that passing urgent bills is more important for the people than wrangling with the opposition parties endlessly over the reform law. The opposition parties have been blocking the passage of pending bills in protest of the private school law.

In this regard, Uri Rep. Kim Hyuk-kyu expressed his opinion on his website on Aug. 25, 2006, saying, “We need to reach a ‘big deal’ between the revision of the private school law and the passage of the most urgent bills,” Kim said on the website. Kim’s remark reminds us of the position of the Grand National Party (GNP) that has proclaimed it would pass only urgent bills during a regular session of the National Assembly in line with the revision of the school reform law.

However, the stance of hard-line lawmakers in the Uri Party has not changed at all. They argue that the foundation of the party will be shaken off if the Uri Party accepts the demands of the opposition parties without precautions since the school reform law has been the symbol for the party’s identity.

In particular, members of the Assembly Education Committee who pushed for the passage of the school reform bill are also strongly opposed to the revision.

“Deciding whether it is constitutional or not is not something Yoo should determine. I may accept a moderate change in the law but simply can’t tolerate the attitude of the GNP that demands a complete change in the law,” Choi Jae-sung, a member of the education committee, said in response to Yoo’s claim that the reform law violates the Constitution.