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Communication between president and parliament

Posted April. 11, 2013 05:24,   


In a rare piece of welcome news, President Park Geun-hye invited National Assembly leaders to a luncheon meeting Wednesday, a day after meeting with leading members of the ruling Saenuri Party. On Friday, she plans to have a meeting with leaders of the main opposition Democratic United Party. The president also reportedly plans to meet with members of parliamentary committees that handle issues involving people’s livelihood. A six-member meeting involving heads, floor leaders and chief policymakers of the two parties are also set to be launched Friday. It is refreshing to see that the ruling and opposition party politicians open their doors to each other and communicate after long political wrangling.

Communication between the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae and the National Assembly has been non-existent for years. A corporate CEO-turned former President Lee Myung-bak shied away from parliamentary politics as he attached greater importance to results than to process. His predecessor, Roh Moo-hyun, a political adventurer, often caused discord with lawmakers, rather than communicating with them. President Park, a five-term lawmaker and former head of the ruling party, was expected to be different from her predecessors. However, she betrayed the expectation throughout the processes of handling a government reorganization bill and making appointments for key government posts. The higher the expectation is, the greater the disappointment becomes, or so the saying goes. President Park’s approval rating has fallen below 50 percent mainly due to such reasons.

At the meeting with ruling party leaders, President Park promised to “listen to the party as much as possible on nearly all issues.” It is comforting that the president finally acknowledges the opposition party and the parliament as well as the ruling party as her partners. Timing is important in legislating bills for stimulating the stagnant real estate market, allocating additional budgets for boosting the economy and implementing her campaign promises. The security threats posed by North Korea are also grave. The ruling and opposition parties, for all their political wrangling, should often communicate and cooperate with each other. That is what new politics is all about. Such cooperation would help ease the social conflicts and enmity.

The presidency is a post that has to make political judgments on all issues. The process is as important as the result. Moreover, the current political environment does not allow any president to skip due processes to produce results. Although politics is supposed to serve the people, it is no exaggeration to say that the ruling and opposition parties have been focused on doing politics for themselves despite all the rhetoric about the people. The ruling party should respect opposition parties, while the opposition should do away with its old practice of objecting for the sake of objecting. It takes two to tango. The president and political parties should do the politics of cooperative governance in the spirit of putting themselves in the others’ shoes.