[EDITORIALS]Immature politicsThe Uri Party defied President Roh Moo-hyun’s call to make concessions in a dispute over a school reform law. This can’t be regarded as a temporary discord between the Blue House and the governing party. Judging from the phases of the conflict and its sensitive timing, the Uri Party’s refusal will probably accelerate the weakening of the president’s power as his term in office draws to its end. President Roh’s weakened control over the party will lead to instability inside the administration and to chaos in its handling of state affairs.
The way the governing party responded was certainly immature. It is understandable that the party is unhappy about the president’s advice, because he didn’t have talks with the party leaders beforehand.
But it is not a nice thing to hold a general party meeting on the same day when the president advised concessions and to hastily decide to veto the advice. Does that mean the party doesn’t care about how hard the president works for state administration or whether he loses face?
We wonder if the party has been waiting for a chance to break away from the president. It seemingly wants to keep its distance from the unpopular administration in order to win the local elections on May 31 and the general election next year.
A considerable number of Uri members were elected in 2004 thanks to President Roh. The citizens gave the Uri Party members a legislative majority because they wanted the party to support the president and to take responsibility in handling state affairs along with him.
Drifting away from the president because of his low approval rating is a shameful and irresponsible act. Is the president supposed to work with the opposition Grand National party?
Managing state matters in a supra-partisan way is impossible when the ruling party confronts the president head-on, saying, “A school reform law represents the Uri Party’s political identity.”
President Roh has innumerable pending issues to solve during his remaining term: Signing a free trade agreement with the United States, stabilizing real estate prices, easing social polarization and pension reform. None of them are easy.
Backing up the president in working on those measures is the only way for the governing party to survive. The shallow tactic of distancing itself from the president won’t win them approval from the citizens and voters of Korea.