[EDITORIALS]Winds of regionalism blowing

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[EDITORIALS]Winds of regionalism blowing

The governor of South Chungcheong province, Shim Dae-pyeong, and the mayor of Daejeon, Yeom Hong-cheol, have bolted from the United Liberal Democratic Party and the Grand National Party, respectively. Each said that he did so to devote himself to the construction of the new administrative city in South Chungcheong province. But no one will believe this. Rumors are already circulating.
Both men should make it clear whether they intend to start a new political party. Mr. Shim has said he had no such plans; then again, he also said, “For the administrative city, we need an organization that can bind the region together.”
He also said there was “public support for a new central-region party.” Though he did not say it explicitly, he appears to have a strong interest in creating a regional party based in the Chungcheong provinces.
We wonder what difference there would be between the party Mr. Shim envisions and the Liberal Democratic Party. If there is none, other than whether it is led by Kim Jong-pil or Shim Dae-pyeong, then there is no reason to create such a party. However talented its leaders, a regional party cannot overcome its limits.
The constitution gurantees the right to form political parties. Still, under the present political composition, forming a regional party is a bad idea. The majority Uri Party is shunned by Yeongnam voters, and the opposition Grand National Party is utterly rejected by the people of Honam. Overcoming regional division is the most important political and social task our society faces. Under such circumstances, creating another regional party would be counterproductive now.
We can’t accept Mr. Yeom’s remarks at face value. It seems likely that he will either join the Uri Party or join Mr. Shim. To avoid being considered a political migratory bird, he tries to justify his decision by taking up the cause of the administrative city and siding with the citizens. The Grand National Party seems to have supported the new administrative city in consideration of the position of people like Mr. Yeom. But he bolted from the party as soon as the law was passed.
The winds of regional parties, defection, alignment and realignment have started to blow. If politicians are wasting time with such tactics when the presidential election is three years away, will they ever find time to work?
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