&#91EDITORIALS&#93A step on the right track

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[EDITORIALS]A step on the right track

The draft reform plan worked out by the political reform committee of the Millennium Democratic Party has been judge to accommodate most of the public's demands. If the plan is implemented, the opposition Grand National Party will find it difficult to ignore. The plan will provide a chance to change such old vices as high-cost politics and personalized party management.

An element of the plan addresses the aim of the new MDP mainstreamers to clean out the party's old guards who are holding on to their vested-interests. Also, the plan can be connected to an election strategy of winning the majority of seats in the National Assembly in next year's election. Suspecting such hidden intentions, the MDP old guards reject the plan, attracting attention from the GNP.

It is difficult to reject the reform plan, because there is strong national demand to do away with the old politics. In a recent JoongAng Ilbo poll, the majority of respondents said "domestic politics" is the priority target for reform. Clean politics and democratic party operations are an irreversible trend. The "question-and-answer" procedure introduced for the first time in the current special National Assembly session is getting positive reactions from the public although it is not a perfect system in terms of political reform. Therefore, if the direction of reforms is rational, we must support them in earnest instead of criticizing them as a clandestine scheme.

Since President-elect Roh Moo-hyun also gives top priority to political reforms, their success or failure will be the indicator of Mr. Roh's reform bid. Utilizing political reform as a political scheme, especially to bypass realignment of political parties, will push politics, not only the MDP, into confusion and a state of acrimony.

The focus of party reform should be low-cost politics, participation of party members and fair elections for public posts. Reforms of such a nature can be promoted by cooperation between the ruling and opposition parties. This is because the structure of political parties is connected to elections and both sides participate in them.

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