[EDITORIALS]A question of priorities

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[EDITORIALS]A question of priorities

The chairman of the Uri Party, Moon Hee-sang, has said he would advise the president to give the opposition party the right to appoint the prime minister, if it goes along with a new electoral system aimed at solving the problem of regionally based political parties. Mr. Moon proposed larger electoral districts, or increasing the number of seats allocated by proportional representation and electing them by region ― that is, the Seoul area, the Yeongnam area and the Honam area. These ideas are in line with the “coalition” proposal made by President Roh Moo-hyun a few days ago. It seems we now have the details of Mr. Roh’s plan.
The Grand National Party made it clear that it would reject the idea, calling Mr. Moon’s remarks “political tactics.” The opposition party said that this is not the time to discuss such a matter, but to make an all-out effort to revive the economy. Grand National chairwoman Park Geun-hye strongly criticized the Uri Party, saying, “No one else but the current government and the governing party should take the responsibility for causing the current difficulties. Is this all that the government and the party responsible for state affairs have to say to the people who suffer from economic hardship and cry out for help in managing their daily lives?” The party declared, “Although our party is in opposition, at least we will devote ourselves to solving problems related to the economy and the people’s livelihood.” And it intentionally ignored Mr. Moon’s proposal.
We consider the Grand Nationals to be quite right. This is the time for all parties to make a concerted effort to save the economy, as the president promised to do early this year, and this is the time to refrain from political remarks that would be detrimental to such efforts. Overcoming regionalism is important, but saving the whole country is even more so.
Particularly in light of the fact that the Grand National and Millennium Democratic parties have rejected the proposal, for the Uri Party to continue to raise it could be misunderstood as a political tactic. The Uri Party must revive the economy first, and then do the other things it wants, be it a coalition government or a change in the electoral system. It must solicit the people’s opinion of its policies. Responsibilities shouldn’t be blurred by a coalition. When the promise to revive the economy has been neglected, how can we believe a pledge to overcome regionalism?
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