Open Moon’s eyes and ears

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Open Moon’s eyes and ears

In a Gallup Korea poll released over the weekend, President Moon Jae-in’s approval rating sank to 43 percent and the ruling Democratic Party’s (DP) to 35 percent, both their lowest since Moon was elected president in May 2017. Negative views of the president rose to 46 percent, up 2 percent and outpacing positive views. The main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) gained one percentage point to 22 percent — the highest since President Park Geun-hye was impeached in late 2016 over charges of abuse of power and taking bribes. There is still a considerable gap between the ruling and opposition parties, but the twin downward spirals in approval ratings for the president and ruling party cannot be ignored.

The ruling power needs to self-reflect ahead of May 10, which marks Moon’s second year in office. At the heart of the problem is the bulldozing and unilateral ways of the Blue House. The outsized Blue House has overshadowed the administration and legislature.

The ruling party must ask itself if it has done its job of supporting the president properly. It failed to provide straight-talk to the Blue House about public sentiment, merely defending the Blue House even as candidates nominated by the Blue House drew suspicion and criticism for their eligibility. It has all but given up on its duties as a responsible ruling party.

The DP finally said that it relayed public concerns to the Blue House after presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom’s suspicious real estate deal drew public uproar. Kim resigned, one nominee was pushed out and another withdrew himself. But the ruling party’s role is not done. The DP must act more eagerly as the channel of public opinions. It must do away with its amateurish ways of blaming the conservative governments of the past for current troubles and going all-out to attack the opposition floor leader for demeaning the president in her address to the nation at a National Assembly session.

The Blue House is under fire for being out of touch with the views of the public. The ruling party must do its part to open the president’s eyes and ears.

JoongAng Ilbo, April 1, Page 30
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