Think again, DPA political standoff is inevitable after the National Assembly voted against the presidential nomination of Kim Yi-su as chief justice of the Constitutional Court. It is the first time since the highest court’s establishment in 1988 that a nominee for its chief was disapproved by the legislature.
The Blue House criticized the opposition for abusing its “reckless majority” power and leaving a “bad precedent” of disrupting the constitutional order with political intentions. The ruling Democratic Party condemned the three opposition parties for “revolting” against the new governing power. But their outcries go against the principles of separation of powers and representative democracy.
The Blue House should be first humbled by the political veto against its selectiveness in appointments. The Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court are the country’s top judiciary institutions. If they do not earn public confidence in their balanced and fair judgment, social conflict could worsen instead of being alleviated.
But Moon named left-leaning candidates to head and join the top courts. Moon outright said he hoped Kim would continue adding a minority voice to the nine-member bench. In fact, he was the only member to oppose disbanding the Unified Progressive Party for its pro-North Korea activities.
The rejection of the nomination is the legislature’s motion to keep the judiciary from tilting too far to the left. The action should have been a wake-up call to the governing power.
The Blue House and ruling party must change their self-justifying unilateral ways. The ruling party habitually labels any individual or entity for being connected to the “past ills” if they oppose the government plans. Moon did not attempt to connect with the opposition even though they dominate the legislative branch.
The government will submit various bills to reform the law enforcement offices and change the tax code to raise the income levies for the wealthiest. There are many issues on the external front where the government needs legislative cooperation. There is no gain in stoking conflict with the opposition.
Whether he likes it or not, the president must cohabitate with an opposition-ruled legislature for the next three years. He must show through his actions what he meant by calling the opposition camp his governing partner.
The honeymoon period is officially over. Instead of indulging in the popularity he enjoys with the people, he must work to improve his relationship with the legislative. Partisanship and political stalemate would not only damage the president but also the people.
JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 13, Page 34
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