[EDITORIALS]The MDP is trying hard

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[EDITORIALS]The MDP is trying hard

A workshop held by Millennium Democratic Party leaders, including the presidential nominee Roh Moo-hyun, this week deserves some credit despite its shortcomings and illusions. At the workshop, the party acknowledged the seriousness of its present situation and showed a genuine desire to solve the problems it faces.

"I feel as if I'm living every day on artificial respiration," Representative Kang Sung-koo said. He seems grimly determined to arrest the deterioration of the party into a regional one and has suggested that Kim Hong-il, the president's eldest son, resign from politics. Mr. Kim has been dogged by allegations of bribery.

Mr. Kang's proposal to dismantle the Kim Dae-jung Peace Foundation and other proposals for party reform, which were seconded by lawmaker Jung Jang-sun, showed that the party leadership, at least, is attuned to public sentiment.

The Millennium Democratic Party is still the ruling party despite the president's recent departure, so it must have been with some determination to survive the present crisis that some speakers called for a pan-national, politically neutral cabinet system. Such a system would have limits, though, and political responsibility could be ducked easily. A proper attitude is more important than such a change; the national interest must be put first in this crisis.

The party must not stoop to tricks such as a name change or realignment under a new central authority to distance itself from the troubled president. Nor should a "Roh Moo-hyun Party" be formed with the shortsighted goal of winning the presidential election. Korean politics has seen enough of one-man parties.

More should have come out of the workshop, though. Accusations of political maneuvering by the opposition party still surfaced during debates on the recent string of scandals. One legislator, obviously not in tune with public opinion, even opposed Representative Park In-sang's proposal that the party apologize to the people for all the corruption allegations.

There is still hope for the MDP, though; many members supported Mr. Park. The party should not try to deflect the blame for corruption; it should apologize and stand firm on its principles in the last days of the Kim Dae-jung administration.
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