DJP + 4 Plan - Going Too Far

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DJP + 4 Plan - Going Too Far

So-called ‘DJP’(Dae-jung and Jong-pil) cooperation between President Kim Dae-jung of the Millennium Democratic Party and Kim Jong-pil, the honorary chairman of United Liberal Party, is becoming more explicit with another four seats from minor and independent parties joining the alliance - a move dubbed ‘DJP+4. Already in political circles some regard the reunion of the ‘Two Kims' as only a matter of time. Rumors are even circulating that minor parties are aiming for high positions in ministries or permanent posts in the National Assembly.

The ruling party's intentions have never been so plain. The extra four seats plus those of the MDP and ULD will guarantee a majority in the National Assembly. After tasting sweet victory in a previous election for a new parliamentary speaker, the MDP now seems to want to revive this strategy, dubbed 'bondage within the party.’ With the excuse that it had little choice and was acting to resolve the mountainous domestic problems, the MDP went as far as comparing the situation to Japanese politics, where parties frequently break up and unite again.

Whatever fancy excuses are given, the fact remains that the same rhetoric is being reiterated. Such practices have been employed by numerous national assemblies over past generations, working on the logic of power struggles and numbers of seats. The current administration is still in its infancy and yet thus far has mirrored the activities of the 15th National Assembly, where likewise party members were poached from the opposition party. This is simply to increase seats lost in the abrupt change of the administration. We may view this as going against public approval of minority rule and majority opposition expressed during the last general election.

Some critics may argue that the action is similar to what occurs in the Japanese system - but our nation does not have a cabinet-styled government or a National Assembly that can be dissolved whenever it becomes unpopular to ask the people to decide. In South Korea, when lawmakers commit worngdoing, the public has to wait until the end of election terms to punish them.

Even if the 'DJP+4' concept goes against public opinion, if it was based upon the common ground in ideology or policy it could be justified as a new experiment in politics. Instead the only thing ruling party seems to be doing right now is wielding carrots for entry to the cabinet and other shiny positions to attract new members.

Even logical plans such as that aiming to ease negotiation conditions between the two groups have been degraded by party leaders who used the plan as a party scheme. The backlash from the opposition party and lack of support from the media proves it. With such incidents taking place before the president has had a chance to stand face-to-face with the opposition party since the general election, it is no wonder hardly anyone responds to calls to 'respect the opposition party as an equal partner and accept the will expressed in General Election'.

On the other hand some unfortunate turns of events may aggravate the opposition party's narrow-minded attitudes and mishandling of domestic issues after the general election. Still the adminstration that seems to call out for 'expansion in armament' before the proper summit talks between two parties or denial of makeshift reshuffling of political circles are just too much. This is nothing but a resolution for building solid confrontation between two ruling and the opposition. Thus the ruling party should rather establish a cooperative system to link the two parties and quit chasing parliament seats. The people had enough of that during the 15th National Assembly.

by Lee Sang-il

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