Changing Park’s governing style

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Changing Park’s governing style

President Park Geun-hye will meet with the floor leaders of the three main parties of the 20th legislature on Friday, a month after the election that created a three-party system led by the opposition. There’s much to be discussed among the president and legislative leaders. Both the economy and security are in critical states. Along with much-delayed labor and other reform agenda, the government needs cooperation from the legislature to come up with funding for corporate restructuring. The meeting could be the starting point for the government and legislature to work together to combat a myriad of national challenges.

But the meeting has been met with considerable skepticism. Opposition party representatives often come out from meeting with the president bitter and annoyed by her high-handed ways. The ruling party and government, in return, lashes out at its opposition for being narrow-minded. Then they go their separate ways questioning why they had ever met in the first place.

During her campaigning, Park repeatedly promised to form a bipartisan council to run state affairs together with the legislature, and yet dialogue with political parties and lawmakers seldom took place. Instead, she often criticized and blamed the legislature for being uncooperative. She developed a reputation for being uncompromising and aloof. As a result, the Saenuri Party lost its majority in the legislature in recent election.

This week’s meeting should establish a new way of governance for the president. Whether she can suddenly turn things around remains doubtful, but she should at least show that she is trying. The ruling party exercised little influence in the outgoing legislature, even when commanding a majority seat. Under the new assembly, the opposition forms the majority.

None of the three, however, can wield a dominating power. The legislature cannot run unless all three work together. This is what the voters wanted, and they showed it by inventing a three-party system. The main opposition must act upon its promise to fix the economy. The president must change her governing style.

The president does not have any other choice. She must establish a cooperative framework with the other political parties.

JoongAng Ilbo, May 11, Page 30
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