Enough of the blame gameThe ruling party is in a state of disarray following its surprising setback in last week’s local elections. The presidential office, ruling party and prime minister’s office are giving each other the evil eye, as the blame game then shifts to encompass the pro-Lee Myung-bak and pro-Park Geun-hye camps. It’s a mess. The people cannot help but worry about being led by such a deeply split government and ruling party.
Order must be restored, and fast. President Lee briefly commented on the election results in a private meeting, urging everyone to refocus on the economy while using the election outcome as an opportunity to reflect on oneself. However, he hasn’t been detailed about who should reflect, and about what.
Before instituting a sweeping overhaul, the president must also reflect on his own lack of communication with the public regarding state affairs. He should at least spell out the basic idea and direction for any new moves. The longer the president keeps silent, the more resentment the public will feel. The president’s silence has also fostered the confusion in the ruling party.
We hope to hear the president’s positions on at least three subjects.
First, how has he received the election results? Many voters who cast ballots for opposition party candidates said they felt betrayed by the Lee administration because it dashed their hopes for better living conditions. They also complained of the president’s lack of communication and domineering style of governance. We would also like to know what the president thinks about the cause of the ruling party’s defeat and how he plans to reflect public opinion.
Second, how will he push forward with key state projects now that the ruling party has lost much of its clout? Candidates who campaigned against the Sejong City revision snatched up seats in the Chungcheong provinces. The pro-Park members within the ruling party also maintain that the government should stick to the original plan. Will the president retract the revision or allow the National Assembly to determine the outcome? And what about the four rivers project? The opposition is poised to rally against the project but construction is already well under way.
Then there is the crucial problem of fixing the military in the wake of the Cheonan sinking. The report on the military’s negligence by the Board of Audit and Inspection was nothing short of shocking. How will the president pursue punitive action toward North Korea with China standing in opposition? And what is the president’s plan for inter-Korean relations?
Third, the ruling party is demanding a major reshuffle. The only certain thing now is that the Grand National Party will hold a convention in mid-July. The president must at least present an outline of this plan.
The public is confused and public officials cannot concentrate on their work. The state of the government and the ruling party must regain order so we can all get back to business.