For the middle class?The United Democratic Party yesterday discussed the direction for the party and its identity at a workshop of party members elected in the legislative voting. The opposition party promised to become strong and keep the government and the ruling party in check to prevent them from becoming arrogant and self-righteous, and also to become an alternative for working-class and middle-class people. In the 18th National Assembly, the ruling Grand National Party has a majority with 153 seats. If the members of the Liberty Foreward Party, the Pro-Park United Party and independent pro-Park members are included, conservative members will occupy nearly 200 seats in the National Assembly. Thus, it is very important what direction the UDP, the party with 81 seats, takes. Keeping the ruling party in check and serving as an alternative are principle tasks for the opposition party in party politics.
The questions are what is the party’s true identity and what is the party working for in reality. Does the opposition party try to keep the ruling party and the government in check and act as a true alternative for working-class and middle-class people? As the government supplemented the negotiations over importing U.S. beef, the right thing to do would be to help import American beef for cheaper prices so that working-class and middle-class people can consume meat more easily. But the UDP applied for provisional disposition to ban U.S. beef imports and is even preparing to file a lawsuit to discuss the unconstitutionality of beef imports. Some UDP members suggest that they should protest U.S. beef imports outside the National Assembly and that negotiations over U.S. beef imports should be linked with negotiations over opening the 18th National Assembly. While citizens stage candlelight vigils and civic groups join the wave, creating social conflict, the main opposition party is adding fuel to the fire.
If a Korea-U.S. free trade agreement is implemented, our exports to the United States will expand, increasing the number of jobs for working-class people in Korea. The fact that Barack Obama, a Democratic presidential hopeful, opposes the ratification of the trade deal shows that the deal is favorable to Korea. But the UDP doesn’t try to ratify the trade deal.
One wonders what the UDP means when it says it works for working-class and middle-class people. Carrying out a single pragmatic, tangible act will be more helpful for the welfare of working-class people than holding 100 workshops.