[EDITORIALS]Move slowly on redistrictingPoliticians have begun to discuss in earnest the revamping of administrative districts. On a large scale, the ruling and opposition parties’ draft plans reorganize the current tri-level local administrative system into a bi-level one.
A tri-level system divides administrative areas into provinces ― then cities, counties, and districts; and finally towns, neighborhoods and blocks. A bi-level system breaks up the country into megalopolises and basic administrative zones.
Today’s provincial system was a form of administrative zoning that began in the Joseon era. Therefore, it does not suit the economic activities or lives of people today. The inefficiencies of smaller administrative zoning systems are not even worth mentioning.
It is true that the current administrative system does not suit current society. Therefore, the discussions that politicians are having are going in the right direction. However, we urge them to take their time for more serious discussions, as the matter of reshuffling administrative zones is a complicated task. Although discussions have been going on for quite a while, realistic restrictions and political interests have caused delays.
To be frank, we have doubts about whether the ongoing discussions are truly aimed just at administrative efficiency. In the case of the Uri Party ― which is trying to change the current small electoral system to a medium to large constituency system ― it naturally has to deal with administrative zoning issues first.
It is the same for the opposition party, which is worried about losing votes from the Chungcheong provinces due to the construction of the administrative city. For political parties that must overcome regional barriers, changing administrative zones may be an easy task to agree with.
However, regardless of the intentions of either party, the most important factor is how to maximize the competitiveness of each region. Political calculations must come later.
Specialists noted that while the current provinces are too large to manage as one economic unit, cities, counties and regional districts are too small to operate as a single unit.
Therefore, most analysts say that if zones are reorganized to accommodate a population of about 3 million, each region will be able to keep its own characteristics and have competitiveness with an economy of scale.