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[Editorial] Verifying Candidates’ Pledges Is a Key Point

[Editorial] Verifying Candidates’ Pledges Is a Key Point

Posted May. 30, 2007 03:06,   


The opposition Grand National Party (GNP) held yesterday at Gwangju a policy vision conference, which bears a great significance since it is the first forum in which the party’s primary candidates can have a chance to discuss their political agendas. Each candidate released their political pledges, and their rivals checked their feasibility and accountability. Considering the primary practice in the past in which parties publicly pretended to emphasize the contents of the pledges that candidates proposed, yet chose according to their local origins and political propensity, this is a significant development.

It is also very progressive that they chose economic issues as the first topic in this forum. Of course, this is a wise choice considering the current economic conditions: growth rate hovering below the potential rate; shrinking investments; disappointing job creation numbers; increasing number of companies leaving to other countries; and the current economic policies. Nevertheless, this forum was very meaningful in that it proved the importance of verifying the candidates’ policy plans in advance.

At the conference, frontrunner Lee Myung-bak presented the construction of the Grand Canal in the Korean Peninsula, seven percent economic growth, $40,000 income per capita, and the development of Korea into seventh strongest country in the world as his political pledges. However, the feasibility of these pledges was not fully investigated. Park Geun-hye also promised creating three million job opportunities, reducing the government size and taxation, lifting unreasonable regulations, and consolidating legal justice and principle. They weren’t fully checked either. On the other hand, GNP lawmaker Hong Jun-pyo proposed a restoration of growth energy and aggressive housing policies. There must be more chances for the nation to verify their pledges. Investigation on the candidates’ pledges is as important as that of their personal capability because unreasonable political plans might squander the national budget and worsen the people’s living conditions.

In fact, it is not sure whether the candidates successfully convinced the nation of the importance of their pledges. Even though there were some questions about the measure for budget reduction and environmental pollution caused by the canal construction, the debate was not sufficient. In order to supplement this limitation, the party should work on getting objective opinions from experts about their major policy plans. There is a saying, “We can find evil factors when looking into a detail.” We should scrutinize every detail of the presented economic pledges. Otherwise, you will have to pay for it.

In addition, candidates had better to change unrealistic pledges such as a sharp reduction in the tax and the significant increase of welfare before they face a disadvantage after being verified. The nation is well aware that rather than one who promises to give everything they want, it is better off with one who can require something from the nation and let it know what he/she can do.