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[Editorial] Ruling Party’s Duties

Posted July. 04, 2008 02:56,   


Park Hee-tae, who was elected the Grand National Party’s new chairman yesterday, said that loss of public trust is the cause of the ongoing confusion and crisis. Park said, “I promise to approach the people in a more humble manner and make effort to regain public trust.” Whether he wants it or not, Park, who will be leading the governing party in the midst of the two-month long protests against the American beef import deal, will have to shoulder a heavy responsibility. However, he was absolutely right in that the solution to the current deadlock will be regaining public trust.

In order to do that, the GNP must change. Even if they claim to have made a significant change over the past decade, it has not been enough, given that they still behave like overprotected, spoiled brats. What did they do when candlelight protesters took to the streets downtown Seoul, demanding the ouster of the government? When the lawmakers of the United Democratic Party joined the Anti-American beef rally along with a mob fighting against police, none of the GNP lawmakers were there to stand against the protesters. Even when the legitimate exercise of government power was on the brink of being branded as “violence,” there was no one who suggested holding an open forum to find out what is true and what is not.

The new leadership should always remember why the public entrusted a majority of the National Assembly seats (153 seats) to the GNP at the general elections on April 9, 2008. They were calling for the GNP to assist the Lee Myung-bak administration to make an advanced Korea, a country where freedom and the truth prevail, the economy thrives and politics is stable. Though belated, the GNP should take the difficult path. They should become fighters bringing the nation’s advancement. First of all, it must stop acting like a coward or onlooker on the impending national agendas and social issues. They must fight and protect the national interest and the people’s welfare no matter how painful and difficult it is.

The GNP should respect and embrace the people’s opinions, but must not blindly follow what some people with a loud voice ask them to do. Looking to left and right trying to read their thoughts is not a proper way of serving the people, but pursuing populism. Of course, the GNP should not go against the people’s will, but, when it is necessary, they should also persuade the people and lead them to the right direction. The GNP is self-claimed to be a mixture of reformists and conservatives. It should clarify its own identity. If its lawmakers are busy to fight each other for their vested interests within the party and blindly comply with influential groups’ demands, the people will not open their hearts to the ruling party.

The government should also re-establish its resolve for a fresh start. President Lee said in his congratulatory speech during the party convention that he will become a successful president and lead a successful government no matter how much ordeal he may have to undergo. The first task will be restoring the legal order and the government’s authority. The government should put the utmost effort to revive the faltering economy as it is the people’s biggest wish, and must not give up its open-door policies it has pledged to the people even if it has to seek economic stability over growth due to unfavorable external factors.