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Rival parties should normalize parliament

Posted December. 03, 2013 09:49,   


Chairman Hwang Woo-yea and Floor Leader Choi Kyung-hwan of the ruling Saenuri Party and their counterparts Chairman Kim Han-ghil and Floor Leader Jun Byung-hun of the main opposition Democratic Party held a four-person meeting on Tuesday, but failed to come up with practical agreement. Amid mounting public anger against the National Assembly, people had some expectations on their encounter, only to find the results “disappointing.” Since they agreed to continue talks on Tuesday, however, it is premature to drop expectations altogether.

Current situations surrounding Korea is truly grave as tensions in Northeast Asia are increasingly escalating due to China’s new Air Defense Identification Zone and other pending issues. Countless young jobseekers have failed to land job and are being forced to despair. It would be hardly suffice even for the government and political circle to join a united front and do their best to revive the economy and care people’s livelihoods, but the political circle has been blocking deliberation of related bills at the National Assembly, only adding to public anger.

The National Assembly failed to keep the legal deadline (December 2) defined by the Constitution for approval of next year’s state budget this year again. The legislative branch enacting laws has effectively repeated its habitual violation of the Constitution for the 11th year. If this situation continues, it is feared that the approval of next year’s budget will be delayed beyond year’s end, forcing the government to set a provisional budget, which will in effect paralyze the government’s function. As the rival parties have been only focusing on political strife over government agencies’ suspected intervention in last year’s presidential election, an issue that was raised by the main opposition party, they have failed to pass even a single bill for three months during the current ordinary session of the National Assembly. This kind of situation has never happened before, even including last year when the rival parties were locked in a fierce standoff, constituting truly grave delinquency of duty by the parties.

President Park Geun-hye awarded on Tuesday letters of appointment to Hwang Chan-hyun, Board of Audit and Inspection Chairman nominee; Kim Jin-tae, Prosecutor-General nominee; and Moon Hyung-pyo, health and welfare minister nominee. The post of the Board of Audit and Inspection chief had remained vacant for as many as 98 days. The president apparently made a bold decision to appoint them despite opposition parties’ objection due to her recognition that as the chief executive she could no longer afford to leave leadership lapses at the Board of Audit and Inspection, prosecution and the Health and Welfare Ministry. Political standoff will likely further deepen due to opposition parties’ objection, but it was completely nonsense in the first place that the Democratic Party sought to connect voluntary resignation by nominee Moon, who was accused of using a corporate card improperly, and parliamentary ratification of Hwang as the government watchdog agency’s chief.

According to an opinion poll on the National Assembly’s role conducted by Media Research last Friday, as many as 91.1 percent of the respondents said “It is not playing its roles properly.” The rival parties are urged to listen to the public’s outcry. The chairmen and floor leaders of the ruling and main opposition parties responsible for the nation’s politics must reach a meaningful conclusion through do-or-die discussions and negotiations, and open up a room to normalize the National Assembly and administration of state affairs on Tuesday without fail.