[EDITORIALS]Stop hindering progressThirteen Uri members ― most of them former student activists ― filed a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court asking it to intervene in conflicts between authorities regarding the government’s pursuit of a free trade agreement with the United States. The members argue that the government has bypassed the National Assembly, which has the right to sign the treaty.
Although nine Democratic Labor Party members also filed a similar lawsuit, the Uri Party member’s lawsuit has a greater influence because it comes from the ruling party.
The decision to pursue a free trade accord with Washington is one of the few reasonable measures that the administration has taken, in contrast to its usual left-wing and anti-American stance. President Roh Moo-hyun has stressed we should not be afraid of opening our doors, looking at the history of our development. He said the open-door policy will enhance our competitiveness and reform our society. In this respect, the agreement has received a positive reaction from the public.
Those who filed this suit have been pursuing a hard-line progressive stance in regard to the national security law, the private school law and the press act, but their political purpose is suspicious.
It is suspicious when they attempt to bring the protests against the trade pact led by some citizens and labor groups into the legislative and judicial fields. The People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy and the Lawyers for a Democratic Society have also joined this move, drawing more attention to the case.
Their act has also created conflict inside the party, which has already been divided due to the incidents of Kim Byeong-joon and Moon Jae-in. In response, they might say “Some have also opposed rewriting the private school law, which is against the party’s stance on the matter.” However, rewriting of the school law is designed to better the law and is supported by the president.
The Uri Party has not yet stepped up on an important matters related to people’s livelihoods, such as reforming the pension programs. It cites opposition from other parties as a reason, but the Uri Party is clearly conscious that the public fears an increase in taxes to pay for the pension, in particular with the presidential election next year.
If the former student activists-turned-politicians were truly worried about people’s livelihoods, they would persuade the opposition parties to change the pension programs, instead of hindering the process for a free trade agreement with Washington.