[EDITORIALS]Pointless fight, bad endThe National Assembly overrode President Roh Moo-hyun’s veto of a bill to assign an independent counsel to investigate the president’s aides. The president cannot veto an override vote, and all that is left is to name the prosecutor and start the investigation. The prosecution should also retract its vow to challenge the constitutionality of the bill. More than two-thirds of the National Assembly approved the veto override; in fact, the bill received 25 additional votes in favor the second time.
We need to ask what Mr. Roh’s veto has accomplished. What good did it do for the country? It was hardly the kind of “win-win” situation that the Blue House likes to talk about so much and it made a loser out of everyone in politics. All that is left after nine days of tense standoff between the Blue House and the opposition is the extreme confrontation that bred distrust and animosity. The president’s authority has been damaged and he is left with a tremendous political burden. The public distrust of politics has deepened. Deliberations on next year’s budget request and other bills have been delayed and they will have to be considered hastily to be approved on time. The Grand National Party did no service to the country by boycotting the National Assembly. But the primary responsibility for the situation rests with the president.
The situation illustrated how an ill-conceived judgment or misguided decision by the president can shake the country. Had it not been for the veto, the opposition leader would not be on a hunger strike and the party would not have refused to keep the Assembly operating. The president said the National Assembly was trying to “force a surrender” and that perception has created a situation in which everything is stalled.
Now that the veto has been overridden, Choe Byung-yul of the Grand National Party should end his hunger strike. It would be counterproductive to press the president too much. Mr. Roh must heed the lesson, seek cooperation across party lines and make a fresh start by making the needed changes in the cabinet and the Blue House.