[EDITORIALS]Listen to the speaker’s adviceSpeaker Kim One-ki of the National Assembly has urged lawmakers, who are fighting over the schedule for the extended session, to cooperate and to reach a consensus. He has repeatedly said he will delay until next year the approval of four major bills unless the lawmakers reach a bipartisan deal.
Mr. Kim’s actions are refreshing in an Assembly where elders have all but retired. He is demonstrating that politics is an art of compromise and harmony.
The speaker is primarily targeting the governing Uri Party legislators, advising them to think prudently about the repercussions if the party arrogantly pushes ahead with its majority to railroad the pending bills. The history of our National Assembly provides many examples of how majority parties have suffered public backlashes when they acted unilaterally.
The bill to extend the Korean soldiers’ deployment in Iraq and the government budget for fiscal year 2005 are important ones that need to be approved within this year. But if the governing party were to go it alone to approve these bills, it would be pushing the opposition party to the streets.
Kim Deog-ryong, the floor leader of the opposition Grand National Party, has said the opposition would not link the Iraq extension and the budget bill to domestic political issues. Now would be a good time for the governing party to put more effort into talking with the opposition, as there is less bickering about the contents of the two bills. It is necessary for the ruling party to provide an excuse for the opposition to return to the floor ― the public and the opposition are against the four bills and Mr. Kim’s position is firm.
The Grand National Party should not blindly oppose the bills. It won’t be able to hold off the governing party from opening a standing committee to process the bills.
If it opposes them, it should propose an alternative. The party should first put its alternative proposal for revising the National Security Law, and then return to the National Assembly when Mr. Kim’s mediation produces a certain set of rules on processing pending bills bilaterally.
Democracy is a process of reaching agreements, through negotiations and mediations, amid diverse interests. We are sick and tired of the swearing and the mudslinging. The governing and the opposition parties should take the speaker’s advice and look for ways to normalize the Assembly.