Discussion over disruption

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Discussion over disruption

The Sejong City issue remains a huge debacle. The best way to tackle a difficult and complicated issue like this is to stick to the basics. The government is seeking new legislation on the planned city in South Chungcheong, proposing to revise the initial blueprint.

Under legislative procedures, the government will submit its proposed bill to the National Assembly, where members will debate and negotiate it, write up legislation and then put it up for a vote.

It’s wrong to talk about a referendum when such a legal and just procedure exists in our democratic society. Critics of the ruling party should also stop resisting the government’s new proposal just for opposition’s sake.

To put the new proposal to a referendum will create far greater problems.

Under the Constitution, the president can pursue such measures on major issues, such as those involving defense, unification and other areas that concern national security. Some say dividing the capital into two administrative areas ranks as a “national security issue,” while others disagree. Moreover, this effort could be self-defeating if it’s subject to a public vote.

Still, the public favors a direct vote, largely because of its increasing distrust of the country’s bickering politicians. The people believe the problem will never be solved under the current circumstances due to partisan confrontation. National Assembly members must now attempt to decipher the extent of the public’s distrust and disillusionment in the political system.

The ruling and opposition parties are stubbornly clinging to their positions, refusing to listen to the other side. They never even attempted to sit down and seriously discuss the pros and cons of each point of view. It’s hard to see how we as a nation can come to the right conclusion and determine which option is better without thorough debate. A decision is legitimate and justifiable only when it is reached through debate and, ultimately, a vote.

The government certainly won’t be able to please everyone on this issue, no matter what it decides. Still, the debating and voting process can help fix the social divide over the new city’s role. This process will unravel the source of the problems and allow officials to come to a valid decision.

We must encourage open debate on Sejong City to prevent it from slipping further into an abyss. The mainstream and minority factions in the Grand National Party should kick-start the process. The president also should agree to sit down with former party leader Park Geun-hye and other opposition heads to delve into the problem. This is a chance to highlight how democracy can work in our society.

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