[EDITORIALS]Stop the bickeringThe opposition and governing party are waging an emotionally charged dispute over each other’s respective political identity. The situation has now expanded into a confrontation between President Roh Moo-hyun and Chairwoman Park Geun-hye of the Grand National Party.
Speaking through his personal secretary, Mr. Roh said, “I am ashamed for having studied for the bar exam under the Yushin Constitution,” which was established by Ms. Park’s father, Park Chung Hee. He was rebutting Ms. Park’s criticism when she asked, “Where is this administration taking our country to?”
With the nation’s two top political leaders at each other, it doesn’t require a lot of imagination to see what it is like among rank-and-file party members. The Grand National Party boldly charges that “President Roh Moo-hyun is not upholding the constitution, and is a partner to the Yushin regime [for having studied for the bar exam at that time].” The governing Uri Party says of Ms. Park, who is the chief director of a scholarship foundation called Jeongsu, “The foundation was built upon forcibly wrested private wealth.”
This fierce fighting is victimizing the public. Our economy seems caught in a long dark tunnel. Major political parties, whenever they get the chance, stress that they will take care of the economy and public welfare issues. But in actuality, the parties are intent on digging into the past and taking issue with each other’s political identity. Is this really the politics of cooperation that the new National Assembly pledged at its opening?
If they need any references, the political parties should study the Blue House’s self-assessment of its declining public support. It analyzes that the president’s popularity has taken a blow because of his refusal to acknowledge that the Korean economy is in a crisis, and because of the killing of Kim Sun-il in Iraq and the controversy over moving to a new capital.
Since we know the reasons, it would not be difficult to find the solution. The Blue House should attempt to gather a wide range of opinion and seek ways to ameliorate its predicament. Such efforts may stop the opposition from attacking the administration over its political identity. More importantly, if the president and governing party show that they are making efforts to change, the public, which has been turning its back on the administration, may come back.