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[Editorial] Focus on the People’s Livelihood

Posted September. 08, 2009 08:26,   


As ruling Grand National Party chairman Park Hee-tae resigns to run in next month’s by-elections under party rules, Chung Mong-joon has taken over. Following the shakeups in the presidential office and the Cabinet, Chung’s appointment completed the reshuffle of the party, the government and the presidential office. Now is the time to make progress through action.

The party has high expectations for the six-time lawmaker Chung in that the party should show new political power. Above all, it must restore parliamentary politics to normal. A week has passed since the regular parliamentary session started, but both the ruling and opposition parties have failed to agree on the schedule. The nominee for prime minister and other Cabinet posts await National Assembly confirmation. Pending bills on the people’s livelihood have also piled up. As many as 43 bills are on the priority list of the ruling party. Political issues such as constitutional revision or a change in the electoral district and administrative district systems cannot be postponed forever.

Of course, this is not just a matter for the ruling party. The government and the presidential office must also do their part and cooperate, compete, balance and check each other to achieve results.

With Chung taking over the ruling party and the nomination of Prime Minister-designate Chung Un-chan, the race for the 2012 presidential election is expected to grow more complicated. Ex-party Chairwoman Park Geun-hye had been the favorite. Depending on the issues, they will probably compete against each other for the nomination or even cause conflict since their roles can significantly influence the race. Competition could also result in intra-party conflict but might serve as a double-edged sword as it can stimulate the vitality of the ruling party.

President Lee Myung-bak’s central pragmatic policies have raised his approval rating, which had fallen after the April by-elections and the death of former President Roh Moo-hyun. Public support can always change, however. What the president, ruling party leader and the prime minister do can change the minds of the people. In other words, their political leadership is about to be tested. For Chung Un-chan, his success in administrative work will increase his stock.

For now, they should be faithful to what they do. They must keep in mind that competing soundly while putting their efforts together for the people’s livelihood will help themselves, the government and the ruling party.