[EDITORIALS]Against all odds?

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[EDITORIALS]Against all odds?

The National Assembly has finally started, ending 40 days of unlawful delay caused by partisan strife. Even with the long-awaited opening of the session, the public is not happy. The politicians ignored the public criticism of the "vegetable Assembly" in which the parties were obsessed with obtaining the speaker's seat and the chairmanships of the standing committees. Even in their struggle to put the Assembly back on track again, they showed no maturity.

We can hardly expect this National Assembly session, which went through such agony just to get started, to function properly. The issues on the agenda that the Assembly will tackle are tough enough in themselves to cause more strife there. The National Assembly by-elections on Aug. 8, which could very well be an omen of the outcome of the presidential election in December, are but a month away. With shrewd eyes set on the presidential election, the parties are sure to compete with all their might in these "mini" National Assembly elections to be held in 13 districts around the country. Corruption in political circles, the reclaiming of mismanaged public funds and other such critical issues are sure to be included in the election campaign, and this will inevitably bring a surge of demands for a public hearing and a National Assembly inspection of the administration. With the debate over the reform of political parties added to all this, we can all say goodbye to the thought of a productive session.

It is even likely that the National Assembly and Speaker Park Kwan-yong will go into a coma again after dealing with the immediate issues like the naval clash in the Yellow Sea and the damage caused by the recent typhoon. The public welfare issues that had been put off for months will surely be put to the side again.

It is not wrong for the political parties to concentrate on the Aug. 8 elections; it is only natural. But this does not mean that the legislators can sacrifice their legislative duty to political wrangling. There must be no arrogance of the majority here but neither should there be unreasonable persistence by the minority. The public is mature enough not to be deceived by the parties in their selfish superficiality. The parties should know that the best way to gain support is by doing their duty. We hope for a National Assembly that won't disappoint the public again.
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