Waiting for unityPresident Lee Myung-bak and former Grand National Party chairwoman Park Geun-hye are set to meet with each other soon. New GNP chairman Ahn Sang-soo, a pro- Lee politician, said he received a positive response from the two leaders. According to Ahn, Lee “wants to talk with Park about several items on his administration’s agenda,” and Park “has never refused a meeting with the president so [she] can meet with him at any moment.”
It is fortunate that both leaders have shown their willingness to meet, as the discord between the two has so far been cited as the biggest impediment to the unity of the ruling party. We hope both leaders have a meeting as soon as possible to find ways to genuinely cooperate on government operations.
The two have been confronting each other over major national projects, including Sejong City, since the last presidential elections in December 2007. In particular, each leader’s aides raised harsh criticism against the other’s, almost to the point of personal attacks, making people wonder if they belong to the same party.
A series of GNP defeats to the opposition party in the local elections and by-elections since the last presidential election may also be attributed to the sharp schism between the two leaders. Their friction also led to a big hole in the administration’s governance, victimizing only the general public in the process.
We are facing a very difficult situation, domestically and overseas. Despite some signs of economic recovery, ordinary people still have real worries about the economy. Squeezed between the developed countries and China in a huge economic war, we are suffering a lot from the scarcity of jobs.
Also, as seen in the Cheonan incident, protecting our security is not an easy job, either.
Against this backdrop, the ruling party has been sharply split between pro-Lee and pro-Park factions, with those supporting Lee again balkanized according to their own interests.
The most serious problem is the lack of communication in the government. With a high wall set up between Lee and Park, it’s hard then to expect an efficient flow of opinions and ideas between the ruling party and the opposition parties, and between the political establishment and civil society.
The friction between Park and Lee does not benefit anybody. We hope that they will have a serious dialogue to hammer out ways to solve the current quagmire soon. We also expect them to renew their earlier promise to be “partners in governance” as quickly as possible, and re-establish politics based on communication, dialogue and compromise, so that they can give a message of hope to the people.