[EDITORIALS]In power but out of touchThe governing Uri Party chairman, Chung Sye-kyun, said Sunday, “If the conservatives, who represent only a small number of the ‘haves,’ come into power in the next [presidential election], it would only be a retreat in history and a disaster.” Mr. Chung was at a gathering to celebrate the third anniversary of President Roh Moo-hyun’s presidential election victory. Mr. Chung added that Uri would have to stay in power for at least a decade. “If the right-wingers take office, inter-Korean peace and prosperity will recede, and the taxation and real estate systems may be changed to something that aims to please only the haves who belong to the top two percent of the population.” What Mr. Chung described as “right-wingers” was clearly the Grand National Party.
That rhetoric does not befit his post as chairman of the party that controls the Blue House. If one says that the Grand National Party is only for a small number of the haves, another person could also claim that the Uri Party is only for a small number of radical leftists.
Considering that the approval rating of the Grand National Party is over 40 percent, is Mr. Chung saying that nearly half of Koreans belong to the small number of haves? The present administration and governing party, which have an approval rating of only slightly more than 20 percent, is truly the minority and the establishment group that wants to stay in power for another 10 years.
If we accept Mr. Chung’s claim that the Grand National Party is only for the small number of rich Koreans, then how can he explain that a considerable number of people in many isolated parts of the country support the Grand Nationals? Isn’t it because the public is sick and tired of the political routine of the Uri Party, which has always fostered division and triggered political fights?
It is not important whether you’re a conservative or a liberal or a right-winger or a left-winger. Be it a governing or opposition party, political parties bear the responsibility to ponder what is for the benefit of the majority of people and what the people are thinking. Then they have to reflect that thinking in their policies.
That said, Mr. Chung should do some serious reflecting on whether the party is serving the people. If a political party has policies that are opposed to what the majority of people think, it is a real disaster. Mr. Chung has to first deliberate on how to raise the approval rate of the Uri party and take steps to do so.