The Democratic Party of Korea said it would review the party ratio of the Korea Communications Commission whose term expires next month. Under the current law, two of the five commissioners are appointed by the president, one is referred by the parliamentary negotiation body of the ruling party and the remaining two by that of the opposition party. The ruling party argues the current ratio is not an accurate reflection of the National Assembly where it holds 176 seats.
Its argument goes that the ratio should be adjusted to reflect the 21st National Assembly, which has been dominated by two parties, the Democratic Party and the United Future Party. However, this goes against the very purpose of the laws that form Korea Communications Commission. The ruling party already makes up the majority of the commission including the two appointed by the president who effectively is part of the ruling party. The composition of the National Assembly changes depending on election results, and changing the party ratio of the commission based on it in violation of the law would be an abuse of its power.
Commissions such as the Korea Communications Commission make decisions by mutual agreement unlike government agencies and ministries where ministers have the final say. It has been set up as a commission to allow commissioners with different political leanings to keep one another in check and exchange diverse opinions. The Korea Communications Commission must be guaranteed independence from political parties to carry out its main responsibility to devise communications policies. This is why the ruling party’s appetite for changing the ratio is seen as an attempt to dominate the communications.
The Democratic Party said it would check if there are similar cases in other commissions, which means it would adjust the ratio if there are more members of the opposition party in other commissions. This would include the 137 appointed or elected by the National Assembly such as judges of the Constitutional Court and members of the National Election Commission and the National Human Rights Commission of Korea. This sends out a clear message that the government and the ruling party do not welcome any disagreement on their policies. The ruling party should remember that such oppressive attitude will backfire and be met with public criticism.