[EDITORIALS]What the GNP must doPresident Roh Moo-hyun has announced his intention to seek a vote of confidence in his leadership, and has put forward his choice of timing and method for the vote. At this point, there are things the opposition Grand National Party should do. As the majority party, it must clarify its own position and eliminate certain uncertainties.
First of all, it must make clear whether the party will or will not accommodate a national referendum. When Mr. Roh first mentioned a confidence vote, the GNP said, matter-of-factly, “There is no other way but holding a national referendum.” But now the party seems to have retreated from that position. In his speech at the National Assembly yesterday, the GNP president, Choe Byung-yul, said he was in favor of “holding a national referendum after the truth about Choi Do-sul’s wrongdoings are clarified by investigation.” Still, it is not clear whether the party will go along with the referendum or not. Furthermore, the GNP left open the possibility of impeaching Mr. Roh if he is implicated in the corruption of his aide. If the party decides its initial reaction to Mr. Roh’s confidence vote proposal was impromptu, it must admit its mistake, and declare its position clearly.
The GNP must take the lead in creating a consensus among political parties on whether to accommodate a referendum. Without a consensus of the parties, a referendum would be difficult. The debate among academics as to whether the referendum would be unconstitutional must be heeded, and the parties should choose their positions. They must soon decide whether to reject a national referendum because it is unconstitutional, or to have one on the basis of political consensus.
Since other parties welcomed Mr. Choe’s political reform plan, we hope to see results in the near future. It also seems that there is a consensus on Mr. Choe’s proposals to achieve five national tasks. The GNP must initiate an effort to insitutionalize them. Although the GNP attributed almost all responsibility for the confusion in state affairs to the president, the GNP, as the majority party in the Assembly, must also take its share.