[EDITORIALS]Issues for legislative inquiry

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[EDITORIALS]Issues for legislative inquiry

The National Assembly will conduct parliamentary inspections of 365 government agencies and subordinate institutes starting Monday through Oct. 5. The inspections are a critical part of the legislature's function as a check on government administration. But the politics of the nation, less than 100 days before the Dec. 19 presidential election, suggests that the inspections will amount to intense high-wire politicking by the political parties hoping to grab the upper hand. The two major parties have proclaimed as much. "We will concentrate on correcting the wrongs wrought on government by the Kim Dae-jung administration and the Millennium Democratic Party," said the Grand National Party. The Millennium Democrats vowed, "We will get to the bottom of the nine rumors surrounding Lee Hoi-chang." In particular, the Millennium Democrats have made it pointedly clear that they will dig deeper into allegations that the eldest son of Mr. Lee, a presidential candidate, evaded mandatory military service. As the largest party on the floor, the Grand National Party is not likely to sit idly by.

This sharp war of nerves takes place as numerous important issues face us. There is so much to look into: the distortion of state administration by corruption; division over the administration's North Korea policy; public servants' desire to form unions; the five-day workweek. The issue of the astronomical bailout funds is to be reviewed in a separate parliamentary audit, but with state agencies highly reluctant to tell the legislature how the publicly raised bailout funds were used, the parliamentary inspections should include that issue at well, even as a prelude to the pending audit. It will take some time to disclose the truth behind the allegations put forth by Grand National Party that the state-run Korea Deposit Insurance Corp., wrote off some 400 billion won ($330 million) worth of debts to Sungwon Group; and that the government since May 2000 has pumped 32.6 trillion won through state agencies.

The two main parties must work together so that partisan war does not relegate the looming array of issues affecting the health of our government to the back burner. They should bring to the floor a sincere and industrious attitude for reviewing and summing up the five-year tenure of President Kim's administration. That is their duty to the public that will judge them.
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