Era of compromiseWhen the new legislature convenes, it will be the first time that the party of an incumbent president is not the largest party. The Saenuri Party, which has miraculously rebounded on past occasions, does not seem to realize how disgraceful and demoralizing it can be for the sitting president’s party to be only the second largest on the floor. The president may have difficulty getting a simple nomination passed. A cabinet member could be sacked if the liberal majority wants it. The president and government can no longer depend on a majority to pass bills. Both the president and ruling party must get used to the new order under a three-party system.
When it commanded the majority, the Saenuri Party had the choice not to do what didn’t suit its interests. But a new political environment calls for new political behavior. The people gave birth to a three-party system, with the liberals forming a majority, in hopes of seeing the politics of cooperation instead of constant contentious partisanship. Under such a new order, the government should seriously consider forming a coalition with the liberals.
In a luncheon meeting with chief editors of newspaper and broadcasting organizations, President Park Geun-hye brushed aside the idea of a coalition, saying it was her duty to the people to cooperate under the established framework and lead state affairs with responsibility. “Nothing can be done if differing policies, thoughts and values become all mixed,” she said.
Under the constitution, the elected president is authorized to lead state affairs. But it does not go against the presidential system to bring in Cabinet members from the opposing camp. Politics is an art in which patriotism, compromise and discussion can bring about balance and harmony from differing policies, values and beliefs.
Liberal President Kim Dae-jung formed a coalition with Kim Jong-pil, head of a conservative opposition party, to combat an unprecedented financial crisis in 1998. Their values and beliefs were poles apart, but they made a great commanding duo in the face of a national crisis. In the Gyeonggi provincial government, a governor from the conservative party, Nam Kyung-pil, has put members of the opposition Minjoo Party of Korea in deputy governor and key director positions.
The nation’s politics, just as much as its economy, need to be reinvented. The president and the three parties could pave the way for a new Korean politics based on cooperation and compromise.
JoongAng Ilbo, April 29, Page 30