The ruling Grand National Party held a workshop Monday and Tuesday for lawmakers but why it was held is questionable when looking at the details. The first day of lectures included education on the prevention of sexual harassment, the countrys four major rivers, and amendments to the Constitution. A government-ruling party discussion was held with ministers at each standing committee in preparation for the ordinary session of the National Assembly that starts Wednesday. A free discussion by some 15 lawmakers was held on the second day, and they made recommendations for the party and government affairs. A resolution reminding the party of its determination was adopted for the ordinary session.
The ruling party might think that it held a well-organized workshop but it was far short of the peoples expectations. There is no point doing something just to attract public attention. The workshops main purpose was to prepare for the ordinary parliamentary session and the event was held after three Cabinet nominees dropped out of the running for their posts. Yet the workshop was still disappointing. Participants merely followed the agenda while debating the responsibility of the vetting process. On the first day, some 140 out of 172 lawmakers attended the workshop but only half attended the next day, showing the lack of enthusiasm.
This two-day workshop was an annual occasion for lawmakers to get together. They should have shown their enthusiasm since they had enough time for free discussion of all issues. They should have freely debated the partys direction, overhauling its old conservative image, and the partys vision for the people. Why the party cannot express its awareness of problems or set a direction or vision is hard to understand.
The ruling party urges change and overhaul in times of crisis or when it loses in elections, but as time goes by, this sentiment fizzles out. It has said several times that it will lead government affairs, but has not had the proper consultation with the government on important issues. A good example is President Lee Myung-baks comment on his unification tax proposal or the announcement of the reform of the civil service exam. If the party finds a problem in administrative affairs or appointments, it should have set the right direction with a forward-looking perspective even if it must suggest alternatives after in-depth discussion. Instead, the party is just complaining and looking at the presidents mouth.
The hope is that the party shows improvement at this ordinary session. It should work harder to smoothly pass next years budget and reform bills closely related to the peoples lives so that it can increase the productivity of national affairs at the session.