[EDITORILAS]Coalition is dead, so bury itPresident Roh Moo-hyun and the Grand National Party chairwoman, Park Geun-hye, ended their talks with no progress yesterday, only confirming the differences in their opinions. Although the meeting was the first between the two, their talks ran into trouble quickly. Mr. Roh insisted that Ms. Park accept his proposal for a coalition government, and Ms. Park persistently raised issues about the economy. The two sides’ opinions clashed on every subject, and their remarks were emotionally charged. It is difficult to understand the intention of Mr. Roh in asking Ms. Park to a meeting.
As soon as the talks began, Ms. Park argued for the necessity of tax reductions and noted problems associated with presidential committees. She also criticized the increase in the number of civil servants. Mr. Roh rebutted her point by point. From the transcript of the dialogue, the president appeared to have had no intention of exchanging opinions with Ms. Park or listening to her positions.
“Since you worry so much about the economy and the livelihood of the people, I believe that the Grand National Party will see no problem in handling all those matters. The opposition party should take over the economy,” Mr. Roh said. He also repeated several times during the talks, “I propose forming a bipartisan cabinet for our economy.” As we judge the atmosphere of the meeting, it is doubtful that he had any intention of trying to persuade the opposition leader to his position. He seems to us to have been laying the groundwork for an argument along the lines of “I said I would give up all the authority, but the Grand Nationals rejected it.”
So the proposed counterpart in a coalition government has rejected the offer. There is no need to discuss the matter further. If Mr. Roh does not give up the idea, it will raise questions about his motivation for doing so. Persistence would lead to the conclusion that he is simply trying to undermine the Grand National Party politically. If he now turns to the Democratic Party or the Democratic Labor Party to form a coalition, it will quickly be said that that was his intention all along. If he continues his political gamble, it will only add unfortunate record to our politics.
If Mr. Roh concentrates on governing, negotiations with the opposition party will be possible in the future. It is time to put an end to the wasteful debate about a coalition government.