A suspicious political move

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A suspicious political move

The ruling Democratic Party (DP) endorsed a plan to pursue political reform to shift the current de facto two-party system to a multiparty system. Under its outline, the National Assembly would recommend the prime minister and a policy consultative committee comprised of the ruling and opposition parties and the government will design the basic framework on governance as well as establishing a bipartisan National Security Council.

The DP also suggested reforms in proportional representation to prevent the creation of satellite parties and enable voters to elect more than three council members per municipality in local elections. In the longer run, the DP proposes two-term presidencies and a runoff vote through constitutional amendment. DP lawmakers vowed to lay down the vested interests to help overhaul politics.

The proposals have long been debated in political circles. Politics deemed the most underdeveloped in Korea could improve if any one of them are carried out.

Although the reform outline is in the right direction, the DP is suspected of having a different motive due to the sensitive timing of its proposal. Simply put, a sweeping political reform was hastily packaged as presidential candidates of two rivalling parties — the DP and main opposition People Power Party (PPP) — are in a neck-and-neck race for the March 9 presidential election. Without deep study on curbing the excessive power of the presidency, the reform outline was suddenly announced amid growing opinions in favor of a change in the governing power. The outline was hastily approved by the DP after two minority party presidential candidates raised questions about the DP’s political will on reform.

A change in representative democracy must include opponents in the discussion. But the DP merely invited Ahn, Sim and independent candidate Kim Dong-yeon to join its campaign to reform politics in an obvious move to add their votes behind its candidate.

The DP has a track record of breaking promises. It had passed a law revising the electorate system ahead of the parliamentary elections in 2020. While criticizing the PPP for trying to create its satellite party, the DP went on with creating two. The party even amended its party constitution to field candidates for Seoul and Busan mayoral by-elections in June last year although its party members disgraced the posts. DP Chairman Song Young-gil promised of kicking out its controversial members last month, but no actions followed even though it can easily make the move.

The DP claims it is sincere this time. But it has cried wolf too many times. The party can only redeem confidence when its actions match with words.
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