[EDITORIALS]Having it both waysThe confrontation between the ruling and opposition parties is becoming fiercer after President Roh Moo-hyun named a controversial director of the National Intelligence Service and talk of forming a new party was resurrected. Many lawmakers, both from the left and right, are speaking their minds rather than blindly following their party lines. In a way, this is innovative; the lawmakers are trying to break away from the system of politics devised by the three Kims in the past. But some lawmakers of the opposition Grand National Party do not just express their convictions, but are acting outside the protocol they are supposed to adhere to.
Calling the Roh administration “leftist and subservient to the North” because the administration supports an engagement policy toward North Korea was inappropriate. And if another lawmaker had attacked that lawmaker saying, “You were in charge of the anti-North operations at the notorious National Security Planning Agency,” or “Many people still complain of your involvement in torture,” how can they possibly reach a meaningful conclusion through such personal attacks? Can they even hold the party together? It would be better if they separated and followed different political paths.
Representative Kim Hong-shin of the GNP attended a fundraiser for the Reform Party candidate before the recent by-elections and praised the Korean people for making the “right choice” during the presidential election in December. More recently, he said he might defect to the Reform Party, which maintains a close relationship with President Roh’s allies in the ruling Millennium Democratic Party.
Since Mr. Kim’s parliamentary seat is a proportional, not an elected one, he should leave the party as soon as possible if only to give his stance more legitimacy. Otherwise, he is open to criticism that he is hoping to be expelled from the GNP; then he could keep his seat in the Assembly even if he joined the Reform Party. Mr. Kim needs to make a decision to uphold political morality. For members of the Assembly to express diverse views is good for a healthy political environment, but they must do it honorably.