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Separate Sejong City Issue From Administration

Posted February. 17, 2010 06:48,   


Internal conflict in the ruling Grand National Party over Sejong City has escalated after the Lunar New Year holiday. The faction backing President Lee Myung-bak decided to convene a meeting of lawmakers to change the party’s platform on the matter, something that was vehemently opposed by those loyal to former party chairwomen Park Geun-hye. Over the holiday, lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties might have heard that their constituencies wanted lawmakers to focus on economic revival and job creation instead of Sejong City at this time of economic difficulty. Despite this, politicians are engrossed in the Sejong City dispute. Five opposition parties – the main opposition Democratic Party, the minor conservative Liberty Forward Party, the progressive Democratic Labor Party, the Renewal of Korea Party, and the New Progressive Party – requested a parliamentary inquiry into the case yesterday.

President Lee launched the incumbent administration after he won the 2007 presidential election by a margin of 5.31 million votes. So the government and ruling party have the public mandate to fulfill their duties in every field of administration by utilizing tax money. The ruling camp in a Feb. 3 meeting pledged to make the most of this month’s parliamentary extra session to deal with bills contributing to the public livelihood and job creation and lay the groundwork for boosting national wealth. It also announced its intent to pass 114 bills to benefit the working class, provincial economies and the country’s future. Not one of those bills has been passed, however. If this situation continues, few bills will be passed by the close of the parliamentary session March 2.

At this critical juncture, ruling party members are split over the Sejong City debate and scrambling to gain the upper hand in the 2012 presidential election. Nobody has the right to place the row over state affairs because it is separate from administration. If the Grand National Party continues such irresponsible acts, it cannot present itself as a public party let alone a ruling party. Pro-Park lawmakers must also not shun their administrative responsibilities as ruling party lawmakers because of the Sejong City dispute. Regardless of faction, if a ruling party lawmaker refuses or gives up on his or her responsibility to serve the public or prevents other lawmakers from their responsibility, this is a crime.

What is needed is talks on effectively managing state affairs on the one hand and rational discussion on Sejong City on the other. Building on such dialogue, the National Assembly should make a conclusion through concrete evidence and logical arguments with the public interest in mind. If politicians continue their irresponsible disputes while ignoring state affairs and the public livelihood, the people will hold them accountable through elections.