Tango takes twoWith Moon Chang-keuk walking away from his nomination as prime minister, the Park Geun-hye administration is heading towards chaos. After current Prime Minister Chung Hong-won’s announcement of his resignation two months ago to take responsibility for the Sewol ferry disaster, two nominees for the top position have had to bow out even before beginning confirmation hearings. Politicians have yet to kick off a legislative probe into the tragic sinking of the Sewol, not to mention the opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy’s continuing threats to reject some of the seven nominees Park has chosen for ministerial positions. With more than 30 vacancies at director-level positions in the administration, civil servants can hardly do any work.
Despite Park’s determination to drastically reform the government, national divisions are deepening. Her touted visions like a revamp of the public sector, a war on government regulations and a three-year economic plan have lost much of their steam. Such a lethargic state of governance in a second year in office must be ended immediately. The key to addressing the situation is in Park’s hands. She must escape her isolation and seek recommendations for the prime ministerial post from the ruling Saenuri Party or even the opposition. Although the president has every right to pick whomever she likes, we urge her to try a political experiment in which she chooses a candidate for prime minister through consultations with the opposition. Even if she does not follow their recommendation, it would be a first step towards a fresh political culture based on consensus and integration, not on obstinacy and division.
The opposition is not free from culpability for the paralysis in national governance. If it still believes relentless attacks on presidential choices for top posts is their obligation, it should reconsider. The New Politics Alliance for Democracy seems to want National Intelligence Service chief nominee Lee Byung-kee and deputy prime minister for society Kim Myung-soo to bow out. But the party must know that people’s fatigue with the opposition’s thwarting of presidential nominations is deepening. They may think that once they go on the offense, they automatically become the winner. Our election history says otherwise. The opposition should become a political partner. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. The president and oppositions must face up jointly to our grim reality.
JoongAng Ilbo, June 26, Page 30
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