Forgotten principlesThe Democratic Party occupied the office of the speaker of the National Assembly and the conference room of the National Assembly and obstructed all proceedings yesterday. When conflicts are extreme a resolution must be found in basic principles. The ruling and the opposition party should calm the furor and go back to the basic principles of representative democracy.
A direct cause of the Democratic Party’s hard-line response was the fact that the committee for foreign affairs, trade and unification submitted a ratification bill for a free trade agreement with the United States on Thursday. Ruling Grand National Party members gathered and unilaterally submitted the bill, an abnormal act by any standard. It was the result of a failure to narrow differences of opinion between the ruling and opposition parties.
Politics is a procedure of reaching an agreement through dialogue and compromise. When agreement can’t be reached, conflicts inevitably arise. In such cases, the majority’s decision is the principle of democracy. National Assembly members are elected, and thus they represent the people’s opinions. The more seats a political party has, the more public opinion the party represents.
The GNP has an absolute majority of 172 seats; the Democratic Party has a mere 83. When two sides fail to find a middle ground, representative democracy favors the party with a majority of the seats. All political parties who participate in representative democracy must accept the rules of the game. Therefore, the violence of the Democratic Party, which failed to induce an agreement by using physical force to obstruct GNP proceedings, goes against the principle of a majority.
Caring for minorities is also an important principle of democracy. If a majority pushes for its policies or goals without caring for minorities, the act can also be regarded as violence. Caring about minorities is the majority’s duty. The GNP therefore must carefully listen to the Democratic Party’s opinions. The GNP failed to engage the Democratic Party, and the ruling party’s lack of leadership deserves all the criticism it gets.
A resolution becomes evident. First of all, both the ruling and the opposition parties must make more efforts to compromise. The GNP should listen to the Democratic Party’s opinions. But if it fails to reach an agreement, the Democratic Party must accept the consequences. Even if the Democratic Party loses the vote, it must not obstruct proceedings. Instead, it should work more on its policies and let voters make the final judgment.