Shame on a satellite party

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Shame on a satellite party

The Citizen Party, a satellite of the ruling Democratic Party (DP), had to withdraw its election platform book after it was found that it had submitted the same version as the ruling party’s to the National Election Commission. On the previous day, it also canceled its ridiculously unrealistic economic campaign promise of delivering a 600,000 won ($480) cash paycheck for every citizen. Even the left-wing Justice Party called the fiasco “a foreseeable disaster from an ill-conceived party.”

The farce has panned out because the ruling camp was entirely engrossed in adding more seats in the legislature and did not mind whether its partners were qualified to run.

The Citizen Party initially proposed to hand out 600,000 won a month to every citizen. It more or less would be paying a salary to the entire population. The idea would cost 30 trillion won a month and 360 trillion won a year. When its platform drew sneers about the ridiculousness, the party released a new idea. This time it was the exact copy of the ruling party’s. Among earlier platforms, it proposed to recognize North Korea as a “neighboring state.” The Open Democrats — another satellite of the DP — even criticized its peer as “contradicting the Moon Jae-in government’s vision on one Korean community.

The limits of a hastily created party with its eyes entirely on a few more seats on the legislature are evident. Satellite parties, which take advantage of the loopholes in the new proportional representative rule, were bound to cause problems. The April 15 parliamentary elections should be a contest of platforms as election campaigning has become difficult due to social distancing from the Covid-19 threat. But parties have been reckless and thoughtless in writing up their platforms. The new proportional representation, which is connected to political parties’ approval rate, has already lost its original goal of allowing minor parties to enter the National Assembly. The platforms from mainstream parties also are recycled materials from the past.

The country is in jeopardy with the economy devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. Heedless campaigning won’t help. The Citizen Party must explain itself and apologize. The rival parties must seriously devise ways to revive the economy. Cash spending cannot solve fundamental problems. Parties have the duty to compete through policy ideas. The rivaling parties must debate rigorously to come up with the best solutions to aid the economy.
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