A plausible compromise is key

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A plausible compromise is key

The Park Geun-hye government has set sail, but the vessel is hardly shipshape. The National Assembly still hasn’t passed the new president’s government reorganization proposal and the confirmation hearings on cabinet minister nominees have just begun. There are still vacancies in the presidential secretariat. Loopholes and confusion are inevitable during a transition. But the scope of the vacuum this time appears to be alarming the public after the first cabinet meeting couldn’t begin.

The new president has stepped into office at a time of uncertainty at home and abroad. Challenging new events surface almost every day, shaking the nation’s security and its economy. A government that should be concentrating its efforts on coming up with timely responses hasn’t even finished forming. The political parties must quickly reach an agreement on the reorganization plan, and expedite the minister confirmations. The ruling party should not simply blame the opposition for the deadlock.

The opposition has a point in opposing some aspects of the newly created Ministry of Future Planning and Science. Experts have already warned of downside risks in the plan to transfer some of the broadcasting supervisory work to the ministry from the Korea Communications Commission. They pointed out that it’s better to leave an independent agency in the broadcasting supervisory role rather than an executive branch for fear of undermining the public role and the independence of broadcasting. The proposal to split the work between the two offices - with the new ministry overseeing terrestrial, news and general programming channels and the commission overseeing the cable program providers and system operators - could do more harm than good. When cable channels are excluded from independent oversight, they could easily be swayed by big industrial operators.

The ruling Saenuri Party should be more flexible in negotiating with the opposition party. The delay in the government restructuring could get the new president off to a poor start. President Park has suffered setbacks in the past because she insisted on getting her way. In the end, she somehow got her way and won the election. But as the president, if she believes her government reorganization plan is right, she should personally try to persuade her opponents. The well-being of the people matters more than the president’s pride. The ruling party also should play a more active role as it merely seems to be trying to win the president’s favor. The party should demonstrate itself as the ruling power and come up with a plausible compromise on the reorganization plan.

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