[EDITORIALS]Uri Party is adrift

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[EDITORIALS]Uri Party is adrift

It has been two months since the Assembly elections, but there is nothing about the Uri Party that signals that it is an accountable governing party. The party’s members have been silent or just turned their faces the other way on major national issues. They did speak out on a few issues, but only created public confusion. The party that gained a majority of seats in the election for the first time in 16 years is enervated.
The Uri Party seems almost nonchalant about the planned reduction of 12,500 U.S. troops from South Korea. Rather, several legislators are speaking emotionally, saying, “Let them go if they will.” Shouldn’t the party make an effort to examine whether the public should believe the government’s explanation that the reduction will not affect Korea’s national security?
The country is worried to death about the security of the food we eat in the wake of news of unsanitary dumplings, but the Uri Party has not said anything about it. It is hard to tell, but the party seems to believe that it is doing its job merely by issuing a statement.
On the troop dispatch issue, President Roh Moo-hyun has repeatedly stressed that there is no change in the government plan to send Korean forces to Iraq, but about 60 of its legislators are requesting that the government review it. Lawmakers are entitled to their beliefs and convictions, and such variety, if pooled, can exert great power. If left alone, it will just be one too many voices. The party leadership should, at the minimum, collect opinions and mediate the differences. As legislators, Uri lawmakers have not served the check-and-balance function. We have yet to hear Uri legislators challenging the president in his strong assertion that the Korean economy is not in a crisis. Shouldn’t they know more about grassroots sentiment than the president or bureaucrats?
In short, the 152-strong Uri Party bloc in the Assembly appears no better than when it had only 47 seats last year. It is understandable that the president openly chastised the party for failing to confirm with him his views on whether the building costs of apartments should be disclosed. The party should act quickly to state its positions on major national issues. If not, the party will fall under Blue House influence and lose the support of voters.

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