What has changed, NPAD?The New Politics Alliance for Democracy was launched to pave the way for a new course in politics as stated in its name. Political reforms must be demonstrated in legislative action and legislation is the primary way that the National Assembly serves the people. The April Assembly session is the coalition party’s debut stage. From what we have seen so far, there has been no change in its act. Hundreds of bills remain shelved and are gathering dust, having been held hostage as political bargaining chips.
Under the jurisdiction of the Science, ICT, Future Planning, Broadcasting & Communications Committee, 116 bills, including a nuclear safety and protection bill and a personal information protection bill, which directly affect individual safety and privacy, are pending. Members of the newly aligned main opposition remain stubbornly opposed to reviewing and passing any of the bills - as they did under the old Democratic Party name - unless the ruling party agrees to a revised broadcasting bill, which proposes to seat an equal number of union and management representatives on the programming committees of broadcasters. However, the authority of programming belongs to the owners. Demanding an equal labor presence in creating and allocating broadcast programs should not be held against hundreds of bills related to the lives of people.
In the National Policy Committee, the main opposition party members are blocking reviews of the financial credit information protection law and other bills to demand that the government recognize the popular demonstration tune “March for the Beloved” as the theme song to commemorate the May 18 Gwangju Democratization Movement. The party’s devotion to the song is understandable as the Gwangju movement can be seen to as its roots. But there is a considerable number of conservatives that do not want the state to legally recognize the song. It would be better for the legislative committee to first tap the public’s opinion through hearings.
The bill allowing universal basic pensions for low-income and poor senior citizens also is being deferred because the opposition protests the new pension payouts being conditioned by the national pension scheme. President Park Geun-hye and her government are in power after a legitimate victory in the presidential and legislative elections. The opposition must first cooperate with the government’s bills and demand revisions later if they see any problems. The opposition has the duty to contain the ruling party, but if they habitually use their legislative power for political bargaining, it will not win support to campaign for new politics.
JoongAng Ilbo, April 15, Page 30
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