National Assembly Contradicts People’s WillThe 16th National Assembly, which opened on June 5, have already contradicted the will of the nation, as displayed through the General Elections, when electing the speaker. The Grand National Party (GNP), the majority in the National Assembly, failed to win the election for speaker and only obtained one vice-speaker seat. The Millennium Democratic Party (MDP), the second largest party in the National Assembly, and the United Liberal Democrats (ULD), which even failed to become a floor negotiation group, formed an alliance to win the position of speaker and vice-speaker of the National Assembly.
The GNP criticized the outcome of the election for National Assembly speaker, but the move by the ruling party and the ULD can not be considered an inexperienced strategy with a narrow-minded view. The GNP‘s only hope in defeating this appointment would have been an uprising with nonpartisan voting by 386ers (next generation politicians in their 30s) from the ruling party. The GNP took no action to make proper use of their status as the majority party by failing to try to convince any nonparty members to vote for their candidate.
Since the MDP and ULD have in truth formed a coalition, the GNP once again becomes the minority party in the National Assembly, and so similar outcomes are expected in the voting for the appointment of Lee Han-dong as Prime Minister as well as revisions to National Assembly laws on the forming of a floor negotiation groups. If this trend continues, people believe that there will be delays in the carrying out of national state affairs and the same limping operation of the National Assembly due to confrontations between the ruling and opposition parties as experienced during the 15th National Assembly.
The 16th National Assembly needs to enact important laws to reform politics, including anti-corruption laws and laws to protect human rights. Along with these, laws on national security, with the emergence of exchanges between South and North Korea, must be discussed, enacted, or discontinued in this 16th session. In addition, the National Assembly must discuss the proposals needed to support the Inter-Korea summit to ensure a successful outcome. With this, the long-term support and enactment of any agreements reached in this or any future summits will inevitably require the help and support of the National Assembly. This is an issue to be considered in terms of national benefits, not political strategy.
The lawmakers in the newest National Assembly must start playing a positive role in national politics and put an end to their previous practices of procedural struggles to battle bills. The opposition party was always a minority party in the past, and so it was inevitable that they would have to use procedural methods to fight bills, using methods such as prohibiting the presentation of items to be discussed, suspending and delaying the discussion, and occupying the stage of the National Assembly, to compensate for their inferiority in numbers. However, the main opposition party has now became the majority party but they still use the same strategies.
The majority opposition party must now function as a responsible party and use proper discussion methods and form alliances with smaller opposition parties to obtain support to allow the enactment and passing of their bills. This could be a turning point in Korean politics alligning the strategies and ideas of how parties opperate more closely with the principles behind democracy, allowing small-scale parties to express their views due to their power to allow the passing of legislation.
In order for the National Assembly to transform, it is important to nurture the ability of lawmakers to act independently as a legislator in their capacity to carry out state affairs rather than using fancy descriptions for political alignments, such as ＇partner in state affairs＇ or ＇politics in which both the ruling and opposition parties can benefit.＇ The ruling party must show a critical attitude toward government in order to lead the National Assembly to the center of national affairs. Furthermore, opposition parties must prove their abilities to use their legal powers by playing their role as legislators as well as running the nations state affairs, rather than engaging in procedural struggles.
by Yang Sung-chul