A welcome bipartisan effortKorean governance is in jeopardy. The ruling party has become dysfunctional from its loss of voice in the legislature following its landslide defeat in the election and internal strife. The entire public sector — from the president and policymakers to lawmakers and bureaucrats — has become out of tune and lacks direction. Fortunately, the policy chiefs of the three major political parties kept to their agenda and met with Yoo Il-ho, deputy prime minister for the economy, to coordinate on economic affairs. The four-way meeting was agreed to at the president’s talks with floor and policy leaders from the three parties last week. Although the reconciliatory mood was dashed a few days later, the promise about the meeting remained intact and it was agreed that it would become a monthly occurrence.
We welcome the bipartisan effort amid the unprecedentedly tumultuous political front. Kim Gwang-lim, chief policy maker of the Saenuri Party, is a three-term lawmaker who also served as the vice finance minister. His counterparts — Byun Jae-il from the Minjoo Party, a four-term lawmaker and formerly vice minister of information and communications, and Kim Song-sik from the People’s Party, a two-term lawmaker and a member of the legislative finance and economy committee — are both considered practical and willing to work for the interests of the people rather than their parties.
In their first meeting on May 20, they agreed that the government should draw funding for corporate restructuring primarily from state coffers and hunt down those responsible for ruining the companies. The government was asked not to interfere in expanding the performance-based salary system in the public sector and come up with a sustainable program for state-subsidized day care. The council cannot make any binding decisions, but it help make public policies more efficient. The president and party leaders should give economic policy chiefs full authority so that they can serve as a reliable bedrock for the Korean economy.
JoongAng Ilbo, May 23, Page 34