[EDITORIALS]Speak up, Uri Party moderates

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[EDITORIALS]Speak up, Uri Party moderates

The leaders of the Uri Party have all stepped down from their posts without completing their terms of office. The party has been in a whirlwind of power struggle and ideological conflict from the beginning of the new year. The party, that has a majority in the National Assembly and also has the responsibility of managing the government, is shaking because it has failed to establish firm leadership. If things continue this way, we cannot but worry, because the people will have to endure another uneasy year ridden with factional fights within the ruling party and conflict with the opposition.
Resigning as party chairman, Lee Bu-young made a statement that evoked sympathy. He said, “To accomplish such goals as revitalizing the economy, peace on the Korean Peninsula and national integration, the Uri Party must choose dialogue and compromise with the opposition, instead of taking the road to conflict and confrontation.” We think President Roh Moo-hyun’s remark during the exchange of New Year’s greetings at the Blue House ―“I think there will not be any major conflicts or struggle in our society this year” ―was in line with Mr. Lee’s words. But it makes us worry, because the center of gravity seems to have shifted to the party’s hard-liners since the failure to pass a bill addressing the National Security Law.
Former President Kim Dae-jung said, “If politicians respect people as they respect heaven, they will be equipped with the critical mind of a scholar and the pragmatism of a merchant.” When people insist exclusively on their own thoughts, parliamentarism and democracy will disappear; only dogmatism and egotism will prevail. If politicians open their ears and listen with open minds, they will hear what the people want now, and what the government’s priorities should be.
Mr. Lee also said, “We should not refrain from fighting radicalism, and should hold to that attitude firmly.” He said this to awaken those in the party who have kept silent, even though they disagree with the hard-liners. If they do so because they are overwhelmed by the hard-liners, or to save face, they should quit politics. When the governing party is dominated by hard-liners, the opposition will be too. Then the economy will be put on the back burner, and politics will lose hope.
But the nation can no longer be left without vision. This is the time for moderates in the governing party to raise their voices high.
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