Fix the online petition system

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Fix the online petition system

The ruling and opposition parties have been exchanging rants over the Blue House’s response to a civilian petition calling for the disbandment of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) on the online petition board of the presidential office. The LKP accuses the Blue House of dumping the blame for its policy failures on the opposition, while the Blue House calls the response just a part of its routine duty. There seems to be no end to the ruinous contentious politics.

The Blue House is at fault for abusing the civilian petition page for partisan gain and fanning political conflict. The administration does not have any say over a call for disbanding a political party. The petition itself is undemocratic. Some comments are plainly vulgar and slanderous.

Every civilian has the right to denounce a political party. But pleading the move officially to the government is another matter. The Constitution allows for the breakup of a political party only when its activities and purpose intrude on the basic principles of democracy.

The Blue House’s online bulletin has long lost its original purpose. Many of the petitions are just comical, including one suggesting the extension of the presidential term or even penalizing a ruling party heavyweight for treason. For the petitions that it does not like — such as the call for resumption of nuclear reactor construction — the Blue House added a simple answer asking them to inquire about the matter with the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The civilian petition board was opened on the Blue House homepage to show the will of the Moon Jae-in administration to answer public inquiries and complaints directly and promptly. It borrowed the idea from the “We the People” section under the Obama administration to take action on issues that matter to the people.

The design to keep communication with the people has been good. Some of the petitions have generated positive results. But good intentions have been ruined by letting politics get the upper hand.

The Blue House must eliminate partisan contests on its community board. It must restrict themes to state affairs to lessen political contention. The “We the People” section prohibited petitions that went beyond federal government authority. The Blue House should learn a lesson from it.

JoongAng Sunday, June 15-16, Page 30
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