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[Editorial] Nation’s Future Depends on General Elections

[Editorial] Nation’s Future Depends on General Elections

Posted March. 28, 2008 07:33,   


The term of legislators to be chosen in the 18th general elections slated for April 9 will be almost the same as that of the Lee Myung-bak administration. After all, those lawmakers in the 18th National Assembly, regardless of their party affiliations, will play a critical role in improving the people’s livelihood for at least four years. It is not too much to say that they will have a big influence on the nation’s future.

Many of the key policy measures the Lee administration should take on may require parliamentary legislation or amendment. When the National Assembly does its job well, good policies that benefit the people can be implemented in a timely manner while bad ones can be screened out. On the contrary, a malfunctioning parliament will kill good policies for bad ones. That is why the upcoming general elections must be taken gravely by voters.

Whether the ruling party succeeds in gaining a majority that will support the current government or the opposition parties secure enough seats to put the government in check is entirely up to voters. Some electors might say that helping the incumbent government smoothly run state affairs by voting for them will be conducive to the people’s livelihood and national interest, while others may argue that empowering the National Assembly to check the current government will benefit the country. Regardless of the election results, however, we should not repeat the mistake made in the 17th parliamentary elections in 2004, which was held amid the fallout of the presidential impeachment.

The unreasonable impeachment move diverted the voters` attention from the elections and prevented them from casting their ballots based on their careful judgment on candidates. As a result, unqualified lawmakers, who had no regard for the people’s livelihood, went to the parliament. Amateurism and obsolete ideologies prevailed in the 17th National Assembly, reducing it to an incompetent and regressive one.

The 17th National Assembly has also showed its lack of ability in enacting legislation. Of 3,200 bills that were automatically scrapped with the end of the last regular assembly session, 3,000 had been introduced by individual lawmakers. Citing the School Impact Fees Refund Special Act, Government Legislation Minister Lee Seog-yeon said, “Lawmakers’ irresponsible legislation gives enormous burdens to both the government and the public.” Worse, the approval of the KOR-US FTA, which will play a pivotal role in pioneering the nation’s future, has been put off.

Voters have the power to change politics and their own future. Only they can bring about a legislature that is competent and productive, and politics that serves the people. For this, they should cast their ballots prudently in the upcoming parliamentary elections.