[EDITORIALS]A new hopeRepresentative Lee Jae-oh has been elected as the Grand National Party’s new floor leader. This may provide an opportunity to end the deadlock between the Uri Party, which revised laws governing private schools, and the Grand National Party, which has boycotted legislative sessions in protest of the revisions. Mr. Lee is known as an outspoken critic of Grand National Chairwoman Park Geun-hye. His election victory indicates the unspoken wish of Grand National Party lawmakers’ that the party return to work.
Boycotting legislative sessions might have been acceptable during military regimes as a means of democratization, but it was never the right path in politics. Although the Uri Party pushed for the private school law and the Grand Nationals believe the law is bad, the opposition party should have protested inside the National Assembly. The lawmakers should have negotiated and worked to revise the law again while telling the public what they thought was wrong with it.
At this point, a number of important issues such as confirmation hearings for new ministers and the National Assembly investigation into scientist Hwang Woo-suk are mounting. Now is not the time for politicians to waste too much energy on the private school law.
“I will prepare a new revision proposal for the private school law, which the governing party has no choice but to negotiate over,” Mr. Lee said. We have high hopes for his promise.
The Uri Party should also cooperate to normalize operations of the legislature. It must abandon the stubborn attitude that it will never yield. It should show willingness to talk with the Grand Nationals to make revisions on clauses that were protested. Such an attitude will end the standstill. The Uri Party must stop arguing that it cannot yield because it will lose support. It provided the cause of the Grand Nationals’ boycott. The Uri Party is primarily responsible for breaking the deadlock.
Without negotiation and compromise, parliamentarianism cannot work. How can the governing party possibly hold confirmation hearings and carry out National Assembly inspections without the opposition party?
The Uri Party is scheduled to elect its new floor leader on Jan. 24. There is enough justification for the two new floor leaders to meet. We hope the Uri and Grand National parties will begin negotiations, taking the opportunity to restart legislative work.