[EDITORIALS]End the coalition talkPresident Roh Moo-hyun, making use of an unofficial meeting with journalists, reiterated his proposal for a coalition government yesterday. Although all three opposition parties rejected the “grand coalition under the Grand National Party’s leadership” that he presented on Thursday, he seems not to heed them. Mr. Roh emphasized the “genuineness” of his proposal repeatedly, but there are signs of self-confidence and obstinacy in his words. He said: “My political behavior so far has been in the same line. Many people didn’t understand me when I made a choice, but they all said I was right later.”
He also said, “The coalition proposal is a reward to the opposition. What I really mean to propose is to change the current election system.” He explained that the reason was “to dissolve the structure of regionally based politics.”
Here lies Mr. Roh’s misapprehension. Changing the election system can’t be a panacea that can alleviate regional antipathy. While political leaders and parties have misused and distorted regional sentiment, the misunderstanding habored by the residents deepened and accumulated in such a way that it is naive to think that regionalism can be cured by changing the election system.
Regionalism will be dissolved when the parties try for a long time to win the hearts of the regions they failed and their efforts finally move the minds of the residents.
It was not proper that Mr. Roh proposed to increase the number of legislators and to introduce a proportional representation sytem or party candidate roster system. The president is not the chairman of the Assembly’s Election Law Revision Committee. It is also hard to understand the demand that the party that occupies a near majority of seats in the Assembly accept the grand coalition with the opposition. It amounts to demanding unconditional obedience to the party, although he advocates the separation of the government and the party.
It is not proper to talk of a coalition that is unrealistic, liable to be unconstitutional and a cause of political confusion. Mr. Roh said, “The people didn’t elect me because they thought I would be good at handling the economy and diplomacy.” It was an inappropriate remark. The people desperately want a president who is well versed in the economy and diplomacy, rather than one who repeatedly talks of a coalition.