Healing with ParkA problem that is waiting to happen is bound to happen. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. It can worsen if it is hidden. A problem must be resolved at the right time, particularly if a problem is urgent. It seems the Lee Myung-bak administration has set important issues aside and handled only urgent affairs. As a result, after only 75 days in office, the new administration is facing a crisis of trust, as revealed in the president’s approval rating of 29 percent. The crisis of weakening trust is making those in power incompetent.
President Lee and Park Geun-hye, a former chairwoman of the Grand National Party, plan to have an exclusive meeting today. It offers a chance to overcome the crisis.
When the president was running for office, he declared that he would build a partnership with Park. When he was elected president, he promised Park fair and impartial nominations for the legislative elections. These efforts helped overcome crises. Whenever President Lee was in trouble, it seemed that Park was there to help him. President Lee, however, has not visited Park since taking office. Instead, on his way to meet President George W. Bush, President Lee said no one inside the country was his rival. This remark, when considering the context in which it was made, was perceived as meaning that his issues with Park meant little to President Lee.
Park may feel that President Lee didn’t treat her as a partner, the GNP’s nomination procedure was unfair and promises between them were often broken.
It is not unreasonable for Park to demand that party members close to her who left the GNP to run in the legislative elections and won be allowed to return to the GNP, a pre-condition to restoring the relationship between her and the president.
Park and President Lee have decided to meet amid overall chaos in state affairs, namely issues in government personnel, disputes over the GNP nominations and turmoil in policies, all of which has increased public insecurity.
President Lee asked for help from Park to seek balance in governing state affairs. It was the right thing to do. Pride or “saving face” means nothing compared to the greater cause of running the country. As to whether those who bolted from the GNP are allowed to return to the party, that is merely an inside party issue.
The president must willingly agree to resolve the issue without difficulty because the two leaders face much more serious problems in the country.