These delays are unhealthy

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These delays are unhealthy

Only five days are left until President-elect Park Geun-hye is sworn in as president. Regrettably, however, we can hardly expect a smooth transition of power at the current pace. Despite a mounting nuclear threat from North Korea and some tough economic challenges at home and abroad, Park’s plan to reshape the government to increase the effectiveness of governance for the next five years has hit a wall due to disagreements with the reorganization by the opposition. The political standoff is exacerbated by delayed confirmation hearings for Park’s nominees to her cabinet. If some of her appointments happen to fail to make it through the legislative scrutiny, we may have to wait for more than a month until she presides over her first full cabinet meeting, which is reminiscent of the fate of the Lee Myung-bak administration. He was only able to hold his first cabinet meeting three weeks after being sworn in.

The main opposition Democratic United Party insists that the new Ministry of Future Planning and Science should relinquish control of broadcast policies to the Korea Communications Commission. It also contends that the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission be an independent organization rather than putting it under the future planning and science ministry. The DUP also wants to empower the Small and Medium Business Administration.

The party calls for a special committee to decide the agenda for deliberations at the National Assembly. But that takes time. On the other hand, the ruling Saenuri Party repudiates the DUP for blocking a successful launch of the new administration by demanding a legislative investigation into the Ssangyong Motor labor dispute and a public hearing on media strikes as a precondition for approving Park’s government reshuffle.

It is not appropriate for lawmakers to hand the most urgent issue of government reorganization over to a committee. The DUP must respect the plan of Park and her ruling party which won the presidential election last December. If the Saenuri Party’s plan proves ineffective, the responsibility will be borne by the ruling party. If the reorganization is delayed, it could damage the new administration’s leadership. But that will not translate into political gains for the opposition.

In fact, President-elect Park fell short of convincing the public of the need to change the government. Both the ruling and opposition parties must quickly pass the plan by focusing on the merits and demerits of the plan without political considerations.

새 대통령 취임식까지 겨우 5일 남았다. 북핵 등 시급한 문제는 태산 같은데 이 나라는 정부조직조차 갖추지 못하고 있다. 박근혜 당선인의 조직개편안이 여야갈등 속에 꽉 끼어있는 것이다. 장관후보 국회 청문까지 늦어져 새 정권 출범은 심각한 ‘교통체증’이다. 청문에서 낙마자라도 생기면 ‘박근혜의 장관들’로 구성되는 국무회의가 열리려면 앞으로 한 달을 넘길 수도 있다. 여러 사고가 많았던 이명박 정부 때도 취임 후 21일 정도였다.

민주당은 미래창조과학부 조직 중 방송정책은 그대로 방통위에 두고, 원자력안전위는 독립기구로 하자고 주장한다. 중소기업청 강화도 요구한다. 새누리당은 민주당이 쌍용차 사태에 관한 국정조사, 언론사 파업사태 청문회 등을 같이 협상조건으로 내세우면서 새 정부 발목을 잡고 있다고 비난한다. 민주당은 국회 선진화법에 따라 안건조정위원회를 구성하자고 주장하는데 이는 시일이 많이 걸린다. 현재 여야 6인 협상기구가 있는데 조직개편처럼 시급한 문제를 안건조정위로 넘기는 건 적절하지 않다.

정부조직개편의 큰 방향에는 여야 간 차이가 없다. 그런데도 새 정부 출범을 닷새 남겨놓고도 합의를 못해 조각 작업의 적법성 여부로 논란을 벌이고 있으니 어이가 없다. 원칙적으로 대선에서 승리한 대통령과 여당의 집권구상을 존중해 주어야 한다. 그렇다고 여당도 일방통행식으로 밀어붙이려 하는 건 잘못이다. 시간이 지체되면 새 정부의 리더십은 상처를 입을 것이고, 제1 야당에도 득점으로만 되지는 않을 것이다. 여야는 정치적인 요소는 빼고 정부기능만을 따져 속히 개편안을 통과시켜야 한다.
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