[EDITORIALS]Policies over politicsThe Uri Party got a new leader, Chung Dong-young, on Saturday. Mr. Chung served until recently as the minister of unification since his appointment in June 2004. We hope his return to the helm will bolster the Uri Party’s morale and serve to put it back in shape as a responsible governing party.
As all candidates participating in the party leader elections mentioned in their campaign speeches, our governing party is in dire straits. The party proclaimed its independence from the Roh administration but its leadership has always given the impression it was getting its orders straight from the Blue House. With a fall in the president’s popularity, the party also suffered and lost election after election. Even Mr. Chung professed to “being ashamed” of the party’s record during the past two years. As such, it should be his first job to cool-headedly assess the reasons behind the party’s miserable performance and to strive to regain the public’s support.
The political agenda we face portends volatile times between the governing and opposition parties. First, there are the local elections to be held on May 31, a prelude to the presidential race next year. The likely candidates for the presidential campaign are already positioned at the command posts of their respective parties. There are also rumors of a reshuffling of political alliances and a push for constitutional revision. Should the Uri Party only criticize the opposition for boycotting the National Assembly instead of admitting to its less-than-honorable manner of passing the Private School Act ,which led to the boycott, or demand a National Assembly inspection of all local autonomous groups weeks before the local election, it will never practice the politics of coexistence it is preaching.
Mr. Chung was the very person who promised this coexistence with Grand National Party leader Park Geun-hye two years ago. Mr. Chung was elected the Uri leader on his campaign advocating pragmatism within the party and calling for a “reform that wins” rather than reform for reform’s sake. We sincerely hope he will do as he said in his inaugural speech and choose policies over politics.
With the appointment of the new leadership, the Uri Party must also forge a new relationship with the Blue House. At all times, it should support a stable state governance.
Mr. Chung promised to make the people feel “reassured” in his inaugural speech. We urge him to act on his words and make sure his speech does not end up as empty political rhetoric.