[EDITORIALS]Squabbles distract both partiesPolitical parties are experiencing internal turmoil. There is noise in the governing Uri Party because its pro-Roh Moo-hyun faction, Solidarity for People’s Participation, has declared itself a political force, jumping into the competition for the party leadership. This group looms as a new element in the party’s power structure, which is divided among three factions: the mainstream, former opposition activists and former reform party members. The opposition Grand National Party has also plunged into an ideological struggle, which began as soon as its new leadership was lined up. The party’s conservatives and moderates, its reformist lawmakers from the Seoul metroplitan area and its conservatives from the Gyeongsang provinces, are engaged in psychologal warfare over the party’s ideological identity, and over a new party name.
Whether it be the governing or opposition party, we have no intention of criticizing moves to realign forces. Looking back on the past year, there is ample reason for both parties to do so. A lot of confusion was created within both parties over the proposal to abolish the National Security Law, for example; as a result, the people were made anxious.
The problem is the direction of these internal controversies. What is the purpose of the turmoil? It is also a question of priorities. Over what should we agonize first? In this sense, it is disappointing to see both parties in their present condition. What the people want most is economic revival. People demand that politicians save the economy, which is crashing down to unfathomed depths. President Roh pledged to exert all his efforts to save the economy this year. Therefore, both parties must look for a way to cooperate and lead the nation in one direction.
Nonetheless, the governing party is busy with its internal feud, with its party convention only three months away. Follow-up measures for reviving the economy are put on the back burner. The same goes for the Grand National Party. It is failing to function as an alternative force. If the governing party goes off the road, the opposition should go in the right direction. But it isn’t doing so. Therefore, the people can’t pin their hopes on it.
Whether hardliners or conservatives gain power is a party’s internal affair. But people see no signs of effort to save the economy from either party. It is time for both parties to step forward to save the economy.