[EDITORIALS]‘The year of no political strife’In their New Year’s press conferences, the heads of the governing and opposition parties said they would concentrate their efforts on reviving the economy and the people’s livelihood. The speeches were so alike that, based solely on their content, it would have been difficult to distinguish one party from the other.
These politicians’ vows brought welcome relief to the people, who are feeling the pressure of a high cost of living and threats of unemployment. They hope that these pledges will not end as empty prayers, but be carried out in concrete policies and actions.
But this was not the first time these promises had been made. Last year, the political parties and President Roh Moo-hyun said more than once that they would concentrate on the economy. But those promises were empty, lasting only as long as it took to make them. And as in the Aesop fable of the boy who cried wolf, the people’s lack of faith in politics has grown. At this point, though, the people truly want to believe, out of desperation, what the politicians are saying.
It is pleasing to see the governing and opposition parties acknowledge each other’s words. The Uri Party’s interim chairman Lim Chae-jung proposed that the main bodies of each economic sector sign an agreement on economic development and social unity. Park Geun-hye, leader of the Grand National Party, suggested that this year should be named “The Year of No Political Strife” in order to revive the livelihood of the people. Though the governing party dodged this comment by saying that “well-intended political strife can present alternative measures,” the two parties basically had the same intent. If the governing and opposition parties have the same goal, they will have to put their heads together on how to make their dreams a reality.
The parties will be put to the test next month when the National Assembly’s temporary sessions take place. It would be best for the parties to postpone discussion of issues that are politically sensitive, such as the National Security Law and private education. At this time, the national consensus is that the most important policies concern the economy.
Ms. Park’s suggestion to have talks with President Roh should be positively reviewed. If mutual agreement can be derived from those talks, that alone could give great solace and hope to companies, as well as the people.