&#91EDITORIALS&#93Clashes a drag on nation

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[EDITORIALS]Clashes a drag on nation

The final regular session of the 16th National Assembly opens today, under the threat of partisan fighting. It is not easy to cite a case where the nation’s politicians have fulfilled their roles as lawmakers and representatives of the people. But the political timing and internal affairs of the major political parties make that even less likely for this session.
The two main political parties, mired in serious internal wrangling, have unpredictable futures. With the future of their parties in doubt, lawmakers are going to have a hard time concentrating on the issues pending on the floor. Take, for example, the governing party. The two main factions in the Millennium Democratic Party are engaged in an intense war for the party’s leadership as they move to create a new political party. With so much of their energy consumed by this high-stakes competition, they are not going to be ready for the regular session. Should the party break up in the middle of the Assembly session, chaos will descend on the political community and each individual lawmaker in the Millennium Democratic Party will be forced to scour for a party to align with. The party’s new leadership, proponents of political reform, will not earn support for their touted reform agenda, should they neglect the floor. Voters will give the party’s old leadership the cold shoulder if they too neglect the floor as they call for continuity in the legacy of the Millennium Democratic Party.
The next National Assembly election is scheduled for next April, but would-be candidates are already unofficially campaigning. We worry that not only the standing committees and parliamentary investigations but also next year’s government budget and other public issues will be rammed through.
The opposition Grand National Party has submitted a motion to oust Kim Doo-gwan, a ruling party affiliate who is minister of government administration and home affairs. We cannot criticize the opposition for divulging alleged wrongs, but voters will no longer tolerate irresponsible disclosures.
This session is the first main one under President Roh Moo-hyun. Partisanism will be watched closely by the voters.
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