[EDITORIALS]Are we just guinea pigs?An unprecedented scene in the history of Korean politics occurred yesterday.
A floor leader of the governing party read an address on dismantling the party from the podium at the National Assembly. He said the formation of his party was a meaningful political experiment worth noting in the history of Korean politics, but that now we should end the experiment. He declared the party should be dismantled, either by merging it with another or by changing its appearance and structure. That happened with just four days to go until the party’s third anniversary.
Due to inappropriate remarks and incompetence by party members, the party was defeated in all of the last 40 major and minor elections. As Kim Han-gill, the floor leader, said, this is truly worth noting in the history of Korean politics.
We won’t talk about the decision to dismantle the party when the party wants to find a new nest out of desperation that it will lose power by being defeated in the next presidential election. However, we need to ask what happened inside the governing party over the last three years and who will repair all the problems the Uri Party has irresponsibly left behind.
In July 2004, in a speech to form the party, then-floor leader Chun Jung-bae said, “We feel very sorry to hear people’s sighs in the markets, shops and workplaces.”
That was the problem. The people wanted jobs and wanted to be sure that they could buy their own houses, no matter how small, so long as they worked hard.
However, the governing party, with former student activists as core figures, has clung to belligerent acts.
From the autumn of that year, it has tried to erase the National Security Law, creating chaos in the National Assembly. A new law on newspapers has been ruled as partly unconstitutional. A private school law is pending a court decision as to its constitutionality. Few people remember a law on rewriting history, although the party created chaos to establish.
Mr. Chun opposed the arrest of a pro-North Korean professor when he was the justice minister at the time. He also caused the approval rating for the party to fall. What happened to peoples’ wishes? Low-incom families are having a hard time due to surging housing prices. They are having to move to even worse places. It has become harder to trust the national pension program.
If the Uri Party is dismantled and is merged into a new party formed by Goh Kun, or the Democratic Party, or another force, what will happen to all those policies? What will happen to any measures that Mr. Goh or the Democratic Party opposes? What happened to the policy to promote corporate investment that Uri Party Chairman Kim Geun-tae pursued? After all these years, the party says that was an experiment. Have the country, the administration and the livelihoods of the people been mere guinea pigs, after all?