Go to contents

Change of power happens tomorrow

Posted May. 09, 2022 07:50,   

Updated May. 09, 2022 07:50


As President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol starts his term on Tuesday, national politics will witness a shift in how power works. The ruling Democratic Party of Korea in the lead both in the administration and the National Assembly will lose its control of the former and change into an opposition party with the majority of seats in the legislative body. The main opposition People Power Party (PPP), despite its small portion of the lawmakers’ seats, will transform into a ruling party to share a sense of responsibility for governance with the forthcoming administration. Following such a change in their positions, the two parties are supposed to stay politically responsible. However, they do not accept the realities but are stuck in the mire of self-contradiction with a disappointingly low sense of responsibility.

Voters made this shift in politics between the ruling and the opposition parties on the March 9 presidential election day. As the two main candidates turned out to have a gap in votes merely by 0.73 percentage points, the two parties promised to ensure integration and governance based on cooperation but their words have not been kept. As if they had not made such promises ever, the ruling Democratic Party has unilaterally passed bills in forcible manners while the main opposition PPP stays on the defense stubbornly without any solution in its hands. Amid such an elevated level of conflict, confusion and confrontation, the Yoon Suk-yeol administration starts its journey for the next five years.

With the majority of the seats at the National Assembly, the Democratic Party pushed forward with the legislation of the bill to remove the prosecution’s right to investigate. Added to this, it wields power unilaterally to make up a special committee on judiciary reform which will discuss the establishment of a probe body for serious crime. It did not keep its words to give control of the legislation and judiciary committee to the PPP. It seems to be ignorant of the fact that its abuse of power in legislation will not get the party anywhere unless the administration is willing to execute legislative changes. It is not reminded of the days when it requested that the PPP cooperate on governance.

President-elect Yoon and the PPP are no better than the Democratic Party. They have shown stubbornness and arrogance as a new power in a series of decisions made on the relocation of the presidential office to Yongsan, the denial of the predecessor’s policies and the appointment of disqualified nominees. Although they can criticize the Democratic Party for holding it back, it cannot be any excuse for failure. As the PPP will have a minor share of the National Assembly, it cannot ensure seamless governance without showing political capabilities based on compromise and deliberation. They should recover from the state of being politically incapable. The starting point is “respect for the opposition,” which it has chanted for vociferously.

Neither the PPP nor the Democratic Party will be able to do anything if it only has half power. Any unilateral move is likely to bring about political failures, which will automatically get governance paralyzed and disappoint citizens. The two parties, following the shift of positions, should start finding political solutions not based on difference and opposition but based on common values and agreement, which otherwise should be at least efforts to build mutual understanding and common ground. Indeed, it is an order issued by voters to political leaders two months ago and a set of criteria based on which voters will make judgments in the June 1 local elections.