[EDITORIALS]By-elections take Uri to task

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[EDITORIALS]By-elections take Uri to task

The governing Uri Party suffered a complete defeat in the by-elections on Saturday. The party did not claim a single seat after the by-elections that elected six legislators, seven local government heads and 10 provincial or municipal council members.
It was a total defeat for which the party did not have a single excuse. The governing party must read the minds of the people and heed the public’s warning.
Although it was not a nation-wide election, it is unprecedented that the governing party could not garner any positions.
The governing party should reflect on itself first. The defeat is the result of the accumulated mistrust and dissatisfaction of the people with the ruling camp as a whole.
Within the party, there come calls that this is the proof that the “moderate and pragmatic line” of the leadership has failed. But is this really so? It has only been a month since leadership that pursued a “pragmatic line” was inaugurated.
Moreover, the reason why the current leadership was elected by the party was that it had worried over the alienation of public opinion because of its former reform-first policy.
It must reflect whether the cause of the defeat is because the party failed to introduce the proper pragmatic line to satisfy the demands of the people.
Let’s look back on the political situation in the latter half of last year. Due to endless ideological conflict, dividing people to sides, slips of the tongue by the president and the economic recession, the popularity ratings of the president and the governing party were hovering near the bottom.
Entering the new year, the approval ratings started to rise as the president watched his tongue and the governing party pledged to take a pragmatic line. If the party indulges in an ideological struggle or a fight over party leadership disregarding the above situation, it will further be alienated from the public.
It was disappointing to see some politicians whose behavior in the elections were a far cry from political reform. They promised that a business-backed city would be built with an investment of 10 trillion won ($10 billion) and that the compensation for the land expropriated to build an administrative city would be doubled from the present level.
They invited the controversy over plutocracy and shifted a candidate right before the campaign started. By repeating the old practices of aiming to win the election at any cost, they betrayed their promise for election reform. In the center of the controversy is the Uri Party. The party must reflect on itself and reconfirm its determination to unfold politics for the people.
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