A nonpartisan stepWe welcome the agreement between President Moon Jae-in and floor leaders of the five political parties at the Blue House to set up a consultative body to exchange their views on government policies. The floor leaders said they felt Moon’s sincerity in seeking the cooperation of opposition parties. We hope the meeting helps ease public concerns about the liberal administration’s relentless push for reforms since the ousting of President Park Geun-hye in March 2017.
The Moon administration’s policies aimed at weaning this country off nuclear power, drastically increasing the minimum wage, and pushing an unprecedented 52-hour workweek all backfired, as seen with troubles in winning contracts for nuclear power plant construction overseas and outrages from mom-and-pop shopkeepers across the country. The public is increasingly fretting about North Korea’s slow pace of denuclearization despite the government’s push for rapprochement with the recalcitrant state. As a result, Moon’s rating plunged to 55.6 percent from over 80 percent after taking office. The ruling Democratic Party’s approval rating also dropped to 37 percent.
The leaders failed to agree to form a Cabinet for co-governance. But if a consultative body can hold meetings regularly, it could help put the brakes on the government’s lopsided pushing of radical policies. The ruling party should listen to the opposition’s opinions. If the Blue House explains its policy direction and seeks their cooperation, it could be even better — probably better than if one or two opposition lawmakers were recruited as ministers.
Opposition parties must demonstrate a bipartisan spirit to improve people’s livelihoods and the economy. In particular, they should help pass urgent bills on deregulating internet banks and protecting the low income bracket through a special National Assembly session in August.
Communication with opposition parties is indispensable to solve the North Korean nuclear conundrum. Moon asked the legislature to approve the April 27 declaration he made with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. But he should have explained what’s really going on with North Korea.
Electoral reform is another issue. Moon said he will positively accept it if the legislature strikes a deal. But we believe the issue can better be fixed by an independent committee so that our election system can take a step forward without giving favors to a certain party. Moon can accommodate the results of the debate among committee members after they hammer out a conclusion.
JoongAng Ilbo, Aug. 17, Page 30