Go to contents

Politics of Reason

Posted February. 19, 2010 08:05,   


A Monday meeting of lawmakers from the ruling Grand National Party on the revision to the Sejong City plan will likely incite tension between the faction backing President Lee Myung-bak and those loyal to former party chief Park Geun-hye. The pro-Lee group will push ahead with the revision while its rival will oppose it at the National Assembly, though the party has adopted the revision as its official platform.

The party’s constitution defines a meeting of lawmakers as the supreme decision-making body within the National Assembly to deliberate major policies and bills. Sejong City is a source of major national dispute that deserves discussion by lawmakers. It would be too rash, however, for certain members of the pro-Lee group to push for a vote on the party’s platform next month, aiming at passage before the end of April. This move will foster resistance from the pro-Park group. Only through free discussion of the original plan and the revision in way more conducive to the national interest and balanced regional development with sufficient time can either faction accept the results of the meeting.

Certain pro-Park lawmakers will apparently boycott the meeting of lawmakers. This, however, is seen as a selfish move to deny democracy within the party. The original plan that the pro-Park group wants to strictly adhere to is also a revised one. In February 2005, the lawmakers’ meeting reversed the existing platform to move several government agencies to Sejong City in a 47-38 vote. At the time, party lawmakers in the Seoul area boycotted the meeting. In a parliamentary vote held March 2 the same year, only eight party lawmakers voted for the plan.

The people have seen lawmakers of the main opposition Democratic Party, who control just 80 seats in parliament, obstruct proceedings by the ruling party, which has 160 seats. If 50 pro-Park lawmakers snub the meeting of 169 lawmakers for political gain, the future of the party’s democracy is not bright. A unilateral push is undesirable but blind opposition is irresponsible. The virtue of politics lies in the pursuit of logical conclusion through mutual respect for differences, frank discussion and compromise.

Pro-Park lawmaker Kim Moo-sung has submitted a proposal to move seven independent state agencies to Sejong City. The seven are not expected to suffer inefficiency due to the relocation of government offices. The ruling party should be open to such a compromise and conduct thorough discussions to reach a responsible conclusion. This is politics of reason.