The GNP lacks cohesionThe National Assembly’s standing committees will start operating today. However, given the atmosphere of the Assembly, it is highly doubtful that the standing committees will handle bills properly. The opposition Democratic Party has already said it will delay and block controversial bills that allow more equity investment in conglomerates, industry ownership of banks and mergers of newspaper and broadcasting companies. The opposition has stubbornly held that the media deregulation bill should not even be presented to the standing committee. It looks like the party’s deliberate idleness is almost becoming routine.
The ruling Grand National Party, with 171 seats, holds the key to normalizing the Assembly. As the majority party, the GNP is responsible for overcoming barriers and turning the Assembly around. However, the GNP has not shown much in the way of effective measures and strong resolve.
The GNP has been dragged down by the opposition parties’ violent tactics, including an occupation of the Assembly last year. In February, the ruling party was not even able to open standing committee hearings 15 days after the extra session began. The GNP doesn’t know what to do if the DP tries to delay the process with blocking tactics. Its leaders have shortcomings in carrying out their functions. The GNP said it is because its chairman has no seat in the Assembly. But the party should have known this when it chose the chairman. Its floor leader, Hong Joon-pyo, also didn’t help. The GNP’s position on the Yongsan incident was to investigate the deadly fire first, but Hong said those who are responsible should be punished first.
Party leaders agreed on the bar exam bill, which would form the basis of the new law school system, but GNP lawmakers shot it down. Then the leaders changed their position and said they would lower the barrier to qualify for the bar exam.
The party lacks cohesion and is incompetent in dealing with the opposition. The lawmakers are not passionate enough about passing bills. They care more about which faction they belong to, such as the Lee Myung-bak faction or the Park Geun-hye faction, the new lawmakers more so than the experienced ones. Most of the lawmakers do not fully understand the controversial bills such as the media deregulation bill or the financial deregulation amendment.
Under this situation, there is no way party leaders and lawmakers can push the bills through quickly. They should not waste any more time in the Assembly.