[EDITORIALS]Good idea, rotten timingIt is idiotic for politicians to engage in yet another political tit-for-tat over electoral districts when the general election is just around the corner. Observing how they repeat the farce whenever election seasons arrive, arguments over electoral districts seem to have become a chronic disease for the political parties. Each party’s interests are affected in different ways by different district systems, so the issue is complicated.
But another debate has just started and there are only four months to go until legislative elections. When do the parties intend to strike a deal? It’s like renovating a playground and rules of a game when the game is about to start.
President Roh Moo-hyun yesterday sent a letter to the National Assembly asking for political reform. It focused on revamping the current electoral district system. The letter asked the National Assembly to pick one of three electoral systems to replace the current single-member constituency rules; the choices included multi-member districts or the combining of urban and rural constituencies.
The introduction of a new system could contribute to breaking up the regionalism that drives Korean politics. Most systems would block the Grand National Party’s dominance of Korea’s southeast. But it is hard to believe that President Roh made the proposals thinking that the National Assembly would accept them, especially just before an election. The Grand National Party, which likes the current single member constituency, holds the majority of Assembly seats.
Kim One-ki, one of three co-chairs of Our Open Party, made the same arguments as Mr. Roh a day before the president spoke. They certainly did not speak that way because they thought a different system would handicap them. Demanding changes that are guaranteed to disadvantage one party would not seem to be a good way to start trying to reach an agreement.
The issue of our electoral districts must be discussed after next April’s legislative elections, and should be concluded as soon as possible. Right now, what is needed more is to improve our system for political donations.