[EDITORIALS]Time to act responsibly

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[EDITORIALS]Time to act responsibly

The Grand National Party elected Kang Jae-sup as its chairman at a party convention yesterday. We hope that with the naming of its new head, the party will earn more trust from the citizens.
The party must change. Despite its landslide victory at the local elections in late May, it has not done anything yet to improve. The citizens remain disappointed with such inactivity. Mr. Kang and his staff must begin considering how to best satisfy the voters who supported their party.
The party is still reeling from losing its political dominance eight years ago. It has lost the sense of responsibility it once had as a governing party, and has yet to display the relentlessness that a strong opposition party should have. The Grand National Party has opposed the governing party just for the sake of opposing it, and its only real political platform has been to offer voters unhappy with Uri someone else to vote for. If it continues operating this way, it is unlikely to have a chance of winning back the presidency in next year’s elections.
First, the Grand Nationals must find their own voice. With a series of crucial issues on the agenda, such as the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement negotiations, the North Korean missile tests and the real estate bubble, the opposition has only criticized policies rather than coming up with specific alternatives.
To be a majority party, it has to be more responsible than that, and cannot continue passing the buck on unpopular issues to the Roh administration and the Uri Party. On matters that could alter the future of the nation, such as the free trade talks and the changes to national pension plans, all parties must share responsibility and cooperate. For instance, if problems are found with policies on real estate and taxes, then the parties must try to come up with specific alternatives and negotiate a solution. That way, political parties can secure support and trust from Korea’s voters.
The new Grand National leadership will be in office through the presidential election in 2007 and the legislative elections in 2008. As Mr. Kang stressed, the primary elections to select a presidential candidate must be fair and transparent. To make it that way, the party must be united and cohesive. There were a lot of slanderous criticism and attacks between candidates during the race for the party’s leadership. Unless the Grand Nationals can move past this internal fighting, its reform attempts will prove more difficult and it will remain in the chaotic state we see today.
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