[EDITORIALS]More Grand National nonsenseLawmakers from the opposition Grand National Party keep making contradictory sounds about the planned administrative city in the Yeongi-Gongju area in South Chungcheong province.
Eighty-nine of the party’s 120 lawmakers, or three out of four, have signed a resolution calling for a referendum on the division or relocation of the capital. Nor is that the end of the party’s nonsense on this issue. Fifty-seven party lawmakers signed a resolution calling for the repeal of the bill creating the administrative city. Do they intend to reverse their decision, just a month after cooperating in passing the law in early March? They seem to have no sense of their responsibility as members of the leading opposition party, nor of their constitutional responsibilities as lawmakers.
This behavior is not unusual. Late in 2003, not long before the National Assembly election, the party helped pass a special law to move the capital, in an attempt to win votes in the Chungcheong provinces. But after the election, it behaved as if it had opposed the relocation. The party’s chairwoman, Park Geun-hye, went so far as to apologize for the passage of the bill. But then the party aligned with the governing party last month in passing the special administrative city bill, which isn’t very different from the previous law.
It is understandable that lawmakers who had opposed the special law in the first place would sign the resolutions to abolish it or to call for a referendum. The problem is with those who voted for the law or stayed quiet. With no convictions or consistency, how dare they sit in the National Assembly? The only reason they could have for doing this is that they are carefully calculating the votes in the next legislative elections, and want to be able to point to evidence that they were against the new administrative city.
Party leaders have released no official comments on their lawmakers’ contradictory actions. It is characteristic of today’s Grand National Party that lawmakers cannot express their opinions themselves, trying instead to read their leaders’ minds, while the leaders pretend to be unaware of their members’ contradictions in order not to offend them. Of course, there can be differing opinions on important issues within a party. But if it cannot make those opinions converge and disentangle internal feuds, then it is not qualified for political life.