[EDITORIALS]The Assembly back at work

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[EDITORIALS]The Assembly back at work

Kim Han-gill, the new floor leader of the Uri Party, and Lee Jae-oh, the Grand Nationals’ floor leader, have agreed to end 53 days of crippled operations at the National Assembly, caused by a controversial private school reform bill. It is a relief to know that the leaders of the governing and opposition parties are still heeding public opinion. We applaud the party leaders for their ability to resolve this deadlock with relative ease.
Politics is about finding paths when there are none. Politics based on dialogue and co-existence begin when opponents make way for one another and learn to compromise. The public can rest assured and attend to their daily affairs when political tension is resolved inside the institutionalized framework of legislative politics: the National Assembly.
The truth is, there are more than a few matters that the Assembly must urgently attend to. For example, five ministries have over the past month been in limbo because they each have two ministers and are waiting for the Assembly to hold hearings that would complete the transition of authority from one minister to the other. The Assembly has not yet had the time to touch the allegations that congressional districts were gerrymandered ahead of the regional elections, which are scheduled for May 31.
Then there is the affair of coordinating investigation rights between the prosecution and police, as well as three bills concerning irregular employment. Some 29 bills, including one promoting co-existence and cooperation between big businesses and medium and small firms, had already been agreed on by the governing and opposition parties and are waiting only for the Assembly to pass them. The Assembly’s special committee on the national pension plan is waiting to be mobilized. At the beginning of the year, the governing and opposition parties were at odds over a tax increase and the issue of polarization and discord between classes. All this, not to mention the cases of Yoon Sang-lim, an influence peddler, and Hwang Woo-suk, the disgraced scientist, are all urgent matters on the National Assembly’s inspection list.
Of course, the resumption of the National Assembly will not make all the problems go away. Tension and strife could come back at any time. The latest agreement on the private school reform bill is only an basic one and the parties could pursue their respective partisan agendas with the upcoming local elections as well as the Uri Party’s convention. Nevertheless, we hope that a substantial dialogue will take place based on this agreement, which the party leaders have achieved by exerting long-dormant political skills.
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