Two heads, one countryPresident Roh Moo-hyun and Kang Jae-sup, the Grand National Party chairman, plan to meet next week to discuss the country and the livelihood of the people. The country’s affairs are now in chaos, but the president is still dreaming about a constitutional amendment. The ruling party cannot pass bills because it is stalemated by the main opposition party. The president and the opposition party leader should have flexible attitudes if the meeting is to produce a breakthrough.
The president has said too much, so now he must listen to the other party. The chairman of the main opposition party represents all the president’s critics. The president should listen to find out what’s wrong with his administration, what he should fix immediately and what he should do for the last year of his term. The president also should listen to what Mr. Kang has to say about suspicions that he is intervening in the presidential election campaign, why a neutral cabinet is needed, why he should rush the takeover of wartime control and how he can curb the extremists in the Uri Party.
After that, he should put his head together with Mr. Kang and find some solutions. The country deserves no less. The president should explain why the free trade agreement with the United States has stalled and how opposition parties can help resolve the problem. The president should assure Mr. Kang that the Blue House is determined to stay neutral during the election campaign. President Roh should also explain how the private school act is to be revised and how urgent it is to pass bills on the national pension program and judicial reform at the special session of the National Assembly in February.
The opposition party leader should listen to the president carefully. However, he should also say what needs to be said. Mr. Kang should tell the president to create a neutral cabinet. The party leader should point out problems with government policies on employment, real estate and education and tell the president how to fix them. If the president mentions the constitutional amendment, even though he has promised not to raise it at this meeting, the party chairman should tell the president not to propose it because it will not be passed.
It was a good thing for the president to agree to such a meeting. He should look beyond presidential secretaries at the Blue House. We hope that the president will leave the meeting with a clear sense of direction. It would be a wonderful present for the people to see a mature president and a decent leader of the opposition.