Is It Coalition or Illicit Political Union?

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Is It Coalition or Illicit Political Union?

President Kim Dae-jung nominated United Liberal Democrats (ULD) President Lee Han-dong as Prime Minister. With this move there are many aspects that the people can not understand, especially in terms of political morality, regardless of Lee's qualifications. Korean's distrust of politicians runs deep, in particular when politicians' words and promises, and even those of the political parties, crumble for the appointment to the position of Prime Minister.

Little more than one month has passed since the General Election, and the promises made not to form a coalition are still vivid. The Honorary President of the ULD and spokespeople made political promises to the public during the General Election period, however, ULD President Lee gladly accepted his nomination for Prime Minister. This act is in fact the equivalent of resuming the coalition between Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-pil.

Kim Jong-pil, who harshly criticized the Kim Dae-jung administration and the Millennium Democratic Party during the election period, did not seem to criticize the nomination of Lee Han-dong as Prime Minister. During the election, he announced a termination to all relationships with the ruling party because he said there was no trust between them and he was not able to accept their tricky methods of persuasion. He publicly announced that there would be no more coalition because he would not be a companion to those who deceive others. He also strongly insisted that, "Regardless of the outcome of the election, the ULD would not cooperate with the MDP," and, "No matter how much special consideration the MDP offers, I would not agree to a resuming of coalition."

ULD President Lee also declared, "The move to independent political parties is a result of the serious consideration of political differences, not a simple strategy to win votes in the election. Our party is a true opposition party starting today." He even firmly insisted that there was no change on the end of the coalition 10 days after the general election. However, their standpoint changed without a word of explanation or a request for the people to understand. Lee as the Prime Minster nominee changed his song to, 'The resuming of the coalition is a rational conclusion.'

It is our, the people's, decision that the ULD is not qualified to act as a partner in the joint administration, especially considering the previous political history of Lee Han-dong, who withdraw from the Grand National Party (GNP) at the end of last year declaring that he wanted to unit the conservative elements in politics, but in reality he probably left due to internal conflicts within the GNP. Moreover, it is our determination that the ULD can not play the role of partner in a joint government looking at the political statements of the party during the general election.

This leads us to ask, is it possible that a political party and politicians can still survive politically when their party president suddenly changes the words, promises, and policies 180 degrees in order to gain the position of Prime Minister without the courtesy of discussion to pass the changes?

If the ruling party is a minority, we all understand that it is necessary and acceptable to establish a coalition with an opposition party under these political circumstances. However, it is extremely important that politicians and political parties can distinguish the difference between 'coalition in policy' and 'illicit political union.' We must be aware that previous and old-fashioned politics, were the examples of repeated meetings and partings of political parties, were based on the lack of understanding of the differences between 'coalition' and 'illicit union.'

The true will of the people, expressed in the outcome of the last general election, can be summarized as a desire for a 'two party system.' It was an expression of the people's will to lead political reformation into a solid two party system, in which the ruling and opposition parties are competing, but must cooperating to reach the best outcome. The summit between the leaders of the ruling and opposition parties was also held under the same principles.

However, the background for the nomination of the Prime Minister, as well as independent lawmakers entering the ruling party, shows the tendency for the ruling party to tend to attempt to enlarge its power. A coalition through policy is an excellent idea. However, the plan to establish a joint administration with an illicit political union and talk of a party merger would only be a shallow political strategy to return our politics to an outdated stage without any improvement or change.

by Kim Hyon-jong

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