The opposition must draw the line

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The opposition must draw the line

Leaders of the ruling and main opposition parties met Monday in the hopes of untangling a dysfunctional legislature, but they have failed to find a solution. Hwang Woo-yea of the Saenuri Party and his Democratic Party counterpart Kim Han-gill are still engaged in a bitter political feud over accusations that government agencies allegedly meddled in last year’s presidential race.

Religious members and civilian organizations are also joining the chorus, questioning the legitimacy of the December presidential election.

A senior priest of the liberal Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice even condemned President Park Geun-hye in a public Mass and argued in defense of North Korea’s artillery attack on the inhabited island of Yeonpyeong, which killed four people and injured a dozen three years ago.

In response, President Park declared strong actions against blatant pro-North Korea activists and anti-security propaganda and activities. The social conflict and divide is ever worsening.

There is no time. The legislature no longer has time to review last year’s account settlement. The deadline to vote on next year’s budget bill is only two weeks away, but lawmakers have not even begun a review of the proposal. Various economy-related bills that should have passed many months ago remain tabled.

The Democrats have the key to solving the deadlock. Its demand for a special prosecutor to investigate irregularities in last year’s presidential race is wasteful. The case already went through investigation, legislative hearings and a probe, and is now awaiting a court trial. There has never been an investigation into a case that is already in the trial process. Instead, the DP must compromise with the Saenuri Party, which already accepted the DP’s proposal to create a bipartisan committee to jointly assess a program of reform for the top spy agency.

The DP also should use the momentum to push ahead with its set of political reforms, such as a scrapping of the party nomination for the gubernatorial and mayoral positions.

The opposition party is licensed to oppose and protest. But its activities must be within reasonable boundaries. If it clings to and drags on with its protest about last year’s presidential race, the opposition party will be accountable for causing chaos in national governance.

The DP proposes a four-member consultative group comprised of leaders and floor leaders of the two parties. But what matters is the will of the party, not the formalities. The controversial Catholic group even took part in an opposition-camp conference despite its extreme left-wing streak. The DP must draw the line with them.
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