[EDITORIALS]Let Uri’s moderates be heardThere are people within the governing Uri Party who have voiced criticism of the idea of abolishing the National Security Law. These lawmakers are part of a group that seeks reform while maintaining stability. Among them are many former businessmen, teachers, civil servants and retired military officers. Their political inclinations range from mid-conservative to mid-progressive.
As of yet, they have not reached the point of collective action or taking some decisive step to carry out their purposes. However, in the midst of an atmosphere in the Uri Party where the voices of hardliners are raised high, it is noteworthy that a reasonable and sound opinion has begun to be heard.
Chun Jung-bae, floor leader of the Uri Party, is said to have demanded that party postholders who belong to this moderate group choose between the group and their posts. Mr. Chun says he simply demanded that they “refrain from expressing their opinion, as it is not proper for the party’s postholders, who should coordinate policy guidelines within the party, to insist on their personal views.”
It seems evident that within the Uri Party, the expression of opinion by those who support both reform and stability ― such as revising the security law, or introducing a substitute law, rather than abolishing it outright ― were criticized as “anti-reform” or “acts benefiting the enemy.” If an opinion suggesting gradual reform, in respect of the people’s will, can’t be accommodated, then the party has no right to claim to be a democratic party.
We place our hopes in the active role lawmakers who support moderate reform might play in the future. Right now, the nation has been divided in two by the Uri Party, with its incessant calls for abolishing the security law. If the party calls for reconciliation, the atmosphere will change. From the opposition party, too, voices calling for reconciliation should be heard.
On the political stage, where hardliners prevail, we know how hard it is to take such a neutral position. Particularly when the president himself leads the call for abolishing the law, it must be difficult for the governing party’s lawmakers to behave on their own. But we cannot neglect the country in its current state. We have to prevent further division. It is the ruling party that is primarily responsible. Therefore, the role that the moderate reformers within the party will play is an important one.