Go back to the AssemblyThe members of the United Democratic Party who had refused to allow the opening of National Assembly session joined a candlelight rally in central Seoul yesterday. They say they are following the people’s sentiment, which was confirmed in the June 4 by-elections and would lead the country accordingly. But the UDP misunderstands the opinion of the general public.
The winners of the by-elections were independents, not UDP members. Out of nine posts for heads of districts, independent candidates were elected in five districts. The Grand National Party won in only one district, a clear defeat.
But that doesn’t make the UDP, which won in three districts, the winner. Some former UDP members ran as independent candidates to hide their links to the UDP. For the same reason, few people attended protests that the UDP organized to urge the government to renegotiate U.S. beef imports, in Incheon on June 3 and in Gwangju on June 5. The UDP is the main opposition party, but is not accepted as an alternative to take the place of the GNP.
The UDP has no strong leadership and its members are divided. Many of the UDP members have different opinions about refusing to attend the National Assembly session and joining the rallies. The party is more confused when the situation is urgent. The party members must follow the right way, particularly when things are complicated and confusing like now. They should go back to their seats at the National Assembly.
Some UDP members say they can’t go to the National Assembly because President Lee Myung-bak doesn’t present reform measures. Some urge the president to display a sincere intention to solve problems. These are not good reasons.
The UDP members must go back to the National Assembly to urge the president to do what they think is necessary. There shouldn’t be any conditions or rewards for a party member attending the National Assembly. Former President Kim Dae-jung has advised them to take the fight inside the National Assembly. But it is known that leaders of the UDP attempted to hide that fact from the media.
Members of the UDP can attend candlelight rallies as individuals to learn public opinion. But flocking to street rallies while refusing to work in the legislature is wrong. That is unthinkable in representative democracy. Civil servants elected in accordance with the law must represent voters in a legitimate way. The UDP must read the people’s opinion and go back to the National Assembly.