Partnership, not rivalryThe Democratic Alliance, an association within the Democratic Party launched yesterday, is causing concern that the opposition party is leaning toward a hard-line stance. The organizers call themselves reformists, but their arguments show that they are seeking overly dramatic changes.
Kim Geun-tae, the former lawmaker who initiated the group, called the Lee Myung-bak administration “a civilian dictatorship” in his speech at the launch ceremony. Kim said that is why it is necessary to fight, and that “we should gather at the ‘democratic plaza’ with candles in our hands.”
The idea appears to be winning support in the Democratic Party. The party’s chairman, Chung Sye-kyun, attended the launch ceremony along with other leaders, showing their support for the new group.
The largest opposition party’s fight, however, is anachronistic. Following the end of the last authoritarian regime in 1987, the Republic of Korea had five administrations over two decades. The DP [and its precursors] ruled twice. It is a political party established under a democratic system, so how can it possibly say that it will leave the National Assembly and go out to the streets and fight?
The Lee administration is a legitimate government formed through a democratic election. The administration may appear to be incompetent and its policies may not be as the lawmakers would like them to be, but that does not make it a dictatorship. The DP and the governing side must form a partnership, not a rivalry.
Above all, the public suffering caused by the economic crisis makes this very bad timing for the opposition party to begin this battle. The people want productive national governance. The National Assembly’s budget review has passed its deadline; the DP boycott has blocked the session from opening.
Bills aimed at rescuing the nation from the economic crisis are piling up at the legislature. In a public opinion poll, 29.5 percent of respondents said the DP’s approval rating isn’t rising because it does nothing but criticize.
Some middle-of-the-road Democrats, however, have raised their voices. Following Kim Hyo-seuk, who leads the party’s think tank, Kang Bong-kyun said yesterday that the ruling and opposition parties must cooperate to overcome the economic turmoil.
It is always better for a democratic political party to have internal discussions that include a wide range of views. But the Democratic Party must be responsible in its policies.