[EDITORIALS]An unpersuasive logicPresident Roh Moo-hyun is reported to have said, “Shouldn’t we form a coalition government with either the Democratic Labor Party or the Millennium Democratic Party?” in a recent meeting with top officials of the governing party, government and Blue House. After such a comment was reported, top-level Blue House aides, presided over by the president, added, “Other than seeking cooperation in policymaking, a small coalition government and a big coalition government can be considered as a long-range plan.” This abrupt call for a coalition government only leaves people bewildered.
President Roh’s logic for a coalition government is not persuasive. To begin with, his comments, such as “In the small-governing and large-opposition parties’ structure, the government and governing party cannot do anything if the opposition raises an objection,” and, “A bill cannot pass through the National Assembly under the small-governing and large-opposition structure,” are only making a big fuss.
The governing Uri Party is only four seats short of a majority in the National Assembly. On top of this, the Millennium Democratic Party shares the same roots and the Democratic Labor Party is relatively close to the Uri Party in ideology. Under the presidential form of government, the legislature must play a role in controlling the administration, and that is why, since 1988, the people have destroyed the majority in the National Assembly every time a political party created a majority through a party merger or a political reshuffle. It was the people’s will to stop the excessive concentration of power in one political party. The current situation is not desperate enough to go against that will.
It also is not easy to find a case where the people’s livelihood suffered because a bill has not passed through the National Assembly under the small-governing and large-opposition structure. All in all, the comment about a coalition government is viewed as nothing but an attempt to isolate the Grand National Party, to prevent the loss of support from the Jeolla provinces and to blur the focus on a series of failures of government policies.
Coalition government is a step to be taken when the administration’s stable management is judged to be doomed, in a nation that has adopted either a parliamentary system or a dual administration system. Before talking about a coalition, Mr. Roh must try a dialogue with the opposition. The problem lies in pushing for big numbers instead of dialogue.