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Is Pres. Park`s politics bashing populism or lack of political prowess

Is Pres. Park`s politics bashing populism or lack of political prowess

Posted May. 08, 2015 07:16,   


Regarding the failed parliamentary passage of a pension reform bill for public workers, Kim Sung-woo, senior presidential secretary for public affairs, told a news briefing on Thursday that it was "regrettable" for the political parties to have failed to keep their promise with the public. Despite the circumlocution, the criticism of the political circles should be seen as reflecting President Park Geun-hye`s intention. Kim`s remarks give the impression that presidential office Cheong Wa Dae is an superior organization that evaluates politicians and give directions from above.

Political parties are not organizations working in compliance with the president`s guidance. The president is the ruling party and a politician. She should work in harmony with the ruling party, draw up proposals, concoct strategies to carry through them and persuade opposition parties and the public. During the process, the president should make full use of the administration, which serves as her tool.

Even though President Park has emphasized why the reform of the government employees` pension is necessary and proposed a deadline for the passage of the bill, it is hard to say that she tried to persuade government employees, the opposition parties and the public with great sincerity. Critics say that the government failed to show any initiative in the negotiations for the proposed reform and made it difficult to perform objective review of its fiscal estimation by submitting it just before the negotiation deadline. The president should admit and reflect on her lack of political prowess before pointing fingers at the ruling and opposition parties. Cheong Wa Dae claimed no advance knowledge of the fact that the reform bill was connected with a condition that the income replacement ratio of national pension will be raised to 50 percent. Still, it is no matter of talking out loud because it is the same as publicizing how the president`s office and her party were not cooperating with each other.

On Thursday, President Park yet again urged the political circles to put their partisan interest aside and take the lead in reform. She may have intended to urge politicians to work harder for the reform, she also seemed to have implied that she was on the people` side while other politicians were on the other side. When a bribery scandal involving many of her close aides broke out recently, she did nothing but calling for driving out corruption and political reform as if she had nothing to do with the scandal. Cheong Wa Dae and the president cannot elevate their status or resolve issues by bashing politics. The more difficult the times are, the harder the president should show her leadership to persuade political parties and promote consensus building to find a solution.