A man diminishedThe group departure of over 20 Uri lawmakers is an act of anarchy. They have evacuated to a safe place, but the political arena is chaotic. It is hard to manage the affairs of state in the midst of this conflagration, and the voters must be perplexed. The group of 23 anarchists includes senior party members.
The people will keep an eye on Uri members, both those who stay and those who have left, to see who takes responsibility for the misdeeds of the past four years.
These Uri defectors say that they will create a new party to make life better for working people. This was a Democratic Party slogan, the party these people abandoned to create the Uri Party three years ago.
These people also say they will create a new party with fresh blood, but it’s hard to see where that will come from when politicians simply shuffle themselves from one new party to the next.
They also say they are starting afresh. But they can be granted a government subsidiary of several billion won (several million dollars) when they create a new party in a couple of months. That sounds far from a fresh start.
The governing party is no longer the largest party in the National Assembly and has 20 or so fewer seats than the main opposition party. Major bills are pending at the National Assembly, including ones for real estate, investment regulations, private schools, national pensions programs and the judiciary.
The former Uri members say they will pursue a moderate reform line. If they will have different ideas on real estate policy and investment regulations from those of the ruling party, does it mean the new party will work together with the Grand National Party? Civil workers can no longer rely on a consensus between the administration and the ruling party. This is a state of chaos.
What will happen to the Uri Party? If its members are leaving, the party must think seriously about the cause. Such an exodus does end the ruling party’s duties. When pushing for bills, its members will have to persuade those who have left the party or negotiate with the Grand National Party. For instance, in regard to the private school law, the ruling party cannot be stubborn. It must revise the bill based on the opinions of healthy private school boards.
Without meaning to, the Grand National Party has become the largest party and thus its responsibility in state matters has increased. The opposition party leader is scheduled to meet the president on Friday. He should work with the president to create a framework suitable for the new situation.
Much of the responsibility for this chaos lies with President Roh Moo-hyun, who is now much diminished. Many members left saying the party was finished as long as he was president. The ruling party is not passionate about the president’s constitutional amendment. The decline of the ruling party means that the Uri Party is all but finished. The president must accept this reality and give up his amendment. He has been credited with thinking that accepting reality is more important than saving face. Now he needs to show he can do just that.