[EDITORIALS]It’s Uri’s turn to concedeThe extraordinary session of the National Assembly, called after the regular session closed without progress, has endured crippled operations for more than 10 days. The spectacle of politicians engaging in endless fights in this gloomy year-end season when the nation is suffering serious economic malaise is depressing. Even if they fail to give hope to the public, politicians shouldn’t cause despair.
The governing party lacks any political leadership. The Grand National Party, which has stubbornly resisted the abolition of the National Security Law has presented a draft revision to it. It is now the governing party’s turn to take action.
The draft is close to the maximum concession the opposition could make by omitting or canceling the most controversial clauses; they even left open the possibility of adopting an alternative law by changing its name. There is only one reason the governing party hesitates to take action. It is afraid of criticism from its own hardliners. If things go on this way, political progress will become impossible.
If the Uri Party wants to win outright and defeat the opposition completely, no solution to the current impasse is possible. In a democracy, politics pursues the second best, not the best. It is rational for one side to try to resolve problems by making a concession when the other side has stepped back. Speaker Kim One-ki has been refusing the Uri Party’s request to chair the plenary session because there is no agreement. It is difficult to understand why a party so generous toward North Korea has no goodwill for the local opposition. The government’s North Korea policy is that dialogue, negotiation and economic assistance to the North must continue in order to strengthen the position of moderates in the North. By the same token, moderates in the opposition need a space to set their feet. If the Uri Party is dominated by hardliners, hardliners will prevail in the opposition, too.
Let’s imagine what would happen if Uri’s four major reform bills are pushed through the Assembly in the absence of any agreement with the opposition. The opposition would take to the streets, call for the withdrawal of the administration and growing number of people would turn cold shoulders to the governing party.
There is an answer. The Uri leadership must accommodate the opposition’s proposal and get the Assembly back on track.