A platform in the cloudsThe Grand National Party’s emergency leadership council emphasized more welfare benefits and greater economic equality in its new platform, veering away from traditional conservative thinking on growth, efficiency and competition. It’s vision is now a lot more liberal than before. In effort to appear more people-friendly, the party dubbed its policy guidelines “Promises to the People” and pledged to better connect with voters to earn their trust.
The proposals will require some tweaks before being finalized at general assembly of nationwide representatives, but the framework won’t likely change from its current state. Lee Ju-young, head of the policy committee, said the party tried to reinvent itself by adopting new values and directions in policy. Despite promising more popular and progressive policy making, the party nevertheless upheld fundamental conservative values based on a free democracy and free market principles to differentiate itself from the platform of the opposition camp.
We do not want to question the ruling party’s shift toward the left in its new platform or whether it is in line with the country’s constitutional order and general opinion of our society. It is the party’s choice to find a strategy to prepare for upcoming legislative and presidential elections. The people will be the judge on that choice. But we do want to point out several ambiguities and question the feasibility of some of the pledges.
Of 10 provisions, the first three were to create a welfare state, boost employment and make the economy fairer. How these conflicting policies can be pursued at the same time is unclear. What kind of economic system can increase welfare benefits and jobs as well as enhance economic equalities and freedom? Where would the money to bolster the welfare system and create jobs come from? How can economic freedom be guaranteed while strengthening the role of the government?
Its pledges on fair opportunities, foreign relations and defense policies based on national interests, and a central determination to realize reunification are equally equivocal. They are all grandiose, ambitious words unsupported by action plans.
A platform does not always have to be specific. But it is disappointing to see that the party’s new policy direction is so rhetorical. It could have drawn more public favor if it disclosed feasible and concrete action plans. We just have to wait and see if the party can really honor its “Promises to the People” this time.