Reducing boundariesWe have a golden opportunity to modify regional administrative boundaries.
For the first time in years, the ruling and the opposition parties agree to reduce current administrative units from three levels to two by eliminating provinces and widening cities, counties and districts.
This time the regional administrative units must be changed.
The current administrative boundaries haven’t changed in the past 100 years.
Of course, talk of modifying the system has been going the rounds for a long time.
The discussion started in the 1980s and there were attempts to make changes during the administrations of former presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun.
The Grand National Party, then in opposition, took the initiative and the Uri Party, the predecessor of the Democratic Party, also agreed. So they set up a special committee.
The two parties eventually delivered a related amendment to the government under which presidential candidates were supposed to pledge to make the changes during their campaigns and the issue would be put to a national referendum in early 2008.
Logically, the Democratic Party’s current proposal for a related amendment needs to be passed.
GNP Representative Huh Tae-yeol, who was the committee head in 2006, has personally consented to the proposal.
However, it is regrettable that Huh changed his position recently, citing a need to stabilize state affairs.
The GNP has become the ruling party and should not waste time. Most of all, the government should take the initiative.
The modification has been delayed because of the selfishness of the regional governments. If the number of regional administrative units is reduced, heads of regional governments and lawmakers may lose their jobs.
Because of self-interest, they will resist changes. Some say it will be harder than changing the Constitution.
However, this is an opportunity to overhaul the regional bureaucracy that ruled the different regions.
If we fail this time, we need to wait six more years at least.
The regional administrative boundaries should be changed, to take effect in 2010 when there are regional elections.
People should be wary about what is happening and we shouldn’t waste this opportunity; nor should we live under laws dating back to the Joseon Dynasty.