[EDITORIALS]Coalition one-upmanshipAccording to a press release by lawmaker Maeng Hyung-kyu, Grand National Party’s chief policymaker, issued in advance of the party’s discussion session, the party will lead the way in reorganizing the country’s political structure. The party has yet to declare its policy on a reorganization and no official discussion has taken place yet. However, the fact that the party’s chief policymaker issued such a statement means that this is no passing phase.
Mr. Maeng called for a political alliance among President Roh Moo-hyun’s opponents, in answer to what he called the president’s scheme to form an anti-Grand National Party alliance through a coalition government. He also proposed that the party reinforce its ties with the leadership of the Democratic Party as well as with former President Kim Dae-jung.
Mr. Maeng’s words can be seen as an effort to take advantage of the recent tension between the Uri Party and the former president, in order to build solidarity with the political forces other than the ruling party that exist in the Jeolla provinces. He also called for a revision of the National Security Law and a utilitarian policy towards both North Korea and the United States. The lawmaker also seemed to suggest that the party should shed it image of fighting only for the upper classes.
These are all the kind of things a responsible public figure in charge of leading a political party should be mulling over, and many actions are being taken to reorganize the political community in anticipation of the local elections next year.
However, Mr. Maeng should remember how the Grand National Party reacted when Mr. Roh recently called for a coalition government. The party’s chief policymaker said that this was not the time to confuse the country and that the political community should concentrate on the economy instead. He publicly asked the president to keep his promise to revive the economy.
It seems highly inconsistent to call for a reorganization, led by the opposition party, after making demanding that the president not do so. Furthermore, the Grand National Party had tried to completely ignore the president’s talk about a coalition in an effort to bury the issue. By calling for a reorganization, it has revived the issue.
Now is not the time for political maneuvers. Should the government and the ruling party fall astray, the opposition party at least steer it back on track, not fall veer off as well.