[EDITORIALS]Pay Heed to the People's Discontent

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[EDITORIALS]Pay Heed to the People's Discontent

The Millennium Democratic Party is still bungling even after being reprimanded with the lopsided defeat in the recent by-elections. The conflict within the party, ignited by those who wanted to nominate the party's presidential candidate earlier than scheduled, went beyond the controversy over how to regain the people's support for the ruling party, leading to outright confrontations between the old Donggyo-dong section and its opponents. The conflict grew into a political life-or-death struggle after 10 freshman lawmakers publicly demanded Kwon Roh-kap, former member of the supreme council, and Park Jie-won, senior secretary to the president, retire from politics, to open the way for the reshuffling of the party and government. Due to the hopeless feud and splits within the party, the people are more estranged from the government, and the sense of uneasiness about the government's management is increasing among public officials.

But it was the party officials themselves who caused the dissension and drift within the ruling camp. First of all, the old Donggyo-dong faction pushed the idea of nominating the party's presidential candidate earlier. The people's message in the by-elections can be summed up as: We want the ruling camp to clear up all the suspicions, including the Lee Yong-ho scandal, reshuffle the party and government leadership, and correct the tangled national situation by reviving the economy and public welfare. When the Donggyo-dong faction started talking about an early nomination of the party's presidential candidate, suspicion could have easily arisen that it was trying to divert the people's attention.

Such developments show us that the ruling elites are not prepared to address the people's mind appropriately and they are giving the impression that they are simply looking for a cheap trick behind the scene to change the situation. If the ruling camp wants to get out of the vortex of intraparty conflict, it has to see clearly the essence of why the people initially turned their back to the government and why national politics is in crisis.

Most people were greatly disappointed at President Kim's inability to put the right people in the right places when he simply switched people between the government and party last September. President Kim should think through why the Donggyo-dong faction has been the origin of intraparty strife and why it has been the focus of suspicion. He should ascertain whether the senior secretaries to the president are doing their share of the work and whether there are secretaries who cannot gauge the people's opinion and resist reform. The people are too tired to wait until the end of the National Assembly's regular session in December. President Kim should address all matters causing national politics to drift. We need his decisive leadership now - more than at any other time.
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