[EDITORIALS]Ugly fight in Seoul city offices

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[EDITORIALS]Ugly fight in Seoul city offices

Disputes are intensifying over Seoul city government’s alleged support for mass rallies that protest the Roh administration’s plan to move the administrative capital.
The city and the governing Uri Party squared off over how much the city was involved in the public rallies, with party lawmakers and Seoul city council members brawling in the city offices.
The issue is becoming complicated. The Roh administration and the governing party held a meeting and discussed measures that would allow the Government Administration and Justice Ministries to investigate the Seoul city government. Seoul’s city council said such a move by the administration is “oppression,” and so will hold a protest rally next month.
It’s getting very ugly. The discussion of the capital relocation issue should not take place under such demeaning conditions. The public is already divided over the issue, and the conflict between the Uri Party and the city may only aggravate the split.
It was not right for Uri lawmakers to intrude into the city offices without making an appointment. Seoul officials were also wrong in that they knew the lawmakers were coming, but the mayor didn’t bother to talk with them and the council members prevented them from entering. It is regrettable that they had a brawl and did not, afterwards, express any regret.
Seoul’s government should not use its budget contrary to regulations and support mass rallies. An investigation into these accusations will be necessary.
But the Uri Party, which is making a fuss about these issues, is not in the right either. The party criticized the city, saying that it provided 500 million won ($440,000) to organize mass rallies. The city countered by saying, “The Roh administration used 640 million won this year for the sole purpose of promoting the capital relocation.”
The two sides should not worsen things. The administration and the party will have to acknowledge that the relocation issue is a very explosive one and should make an effort to draw a public consensus. The best way to solve a conflict is debate. Each side should try to make use of diverse communication channels.
As for Seoul’s alleged budget misuse, what is needed is an audit, not a big fuss. The Roh administration and Uri Party’s sensitive reaction only makes us suspect that they have some other political motives.
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