[EDITORIALS]Freshman soul-searching

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[EDITORIALS]Freshman soul-searching

Thirteen first-term lawmakers of the Uri Party recently gathered to discuss the reasons for the party’s recent election defeat. They harshly criticized the Blue House and made many demands. The reasoning of the lawmakers, who met with the general public during the election campaign, was well-grounded. The public’s complaints were: “What has the governing party done over the past two years since it won a legislative majority?” and “The administration is too imperious and self-complacent.”
The legislators’ reactions to those complaints unfortunately came more than 15 days after the election. “Unfortunately,” because they would have been good advice for the party during the campaign. They truly reflect what Koreans are thinking.
The freshman lawmakers concluded that there is a showdown looming between democracy and its opponents. People in their 40s, who were leading contributors to the birth of this “participatory administration” and the emergence of the Uri Party to legislative dominance, have turned into aggressive critics of the government.
“The party,” they said, “in the name of representing the middle class and the common people, has been talking about methods to overcome social polarization and boost the economy over the last two years. But those were just empty slogans.”
They also criticized government policies. “What Korean people are interested in is the economy and the stabilization of their livelihoods, but the administration has been excessively focusing on reform,” they said. “The government’s hostile attitude against the media has made it hard to get a favorable response from the public.” It is a pity that lawmakers, who are supposed to be sensitive to what people are thinking, have not been aware of the public’s sour sentiment toward the government.
The lawmakers also criticized real estate policy. They said, “The administration should have recognized the flow of the market and its flexibility.” They asked for lower property taxes and transaction taxes for owners of only one apartment.
They also recommended that the administration revise its anti-corporate stance and put emphasis on creating jobs. While President Roh Moo-hyun has been constantly preaching “no policy changes,” the first-term lawmakers are demanding change. Accepting the lawmakers’ arguments and advice may be the last resort for President Roh and the leaders of the governing party to get advice that they can rely on.
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