[EDITORIAL] Shameless Political Maneuvers

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[EDITORIAL] Shameless Political Maneuvers

Are the Millennium Democratic Party and the United Liberal Democrats blockheaded? Notwithstanding a barrage of harsh criticism and the public's disenchantment, the MDP has farmed out one of its lawmakers to the ULD. We are speechless at the two coalition parties' arrogance and shamelessness. After the first-round of party switching by three MDP lawmakers, the ruling party's leadership feigned ignorance. This time around, however, the ruling party's spokesman announced: "We have made a big decision after a consultation." The ruling party's demeanor can be summed up as a blatant manifestation that it will do what it desires regardless of public fury.

As we watch the lamentable act of renting out an additional lawmaker so that the ULD can reach a quorum to form a parliamentary negotiation body, we wonder whether the current government really advocates parliamentary democracy. What worries us most is the regime's self-righteousness. Considering overwhelming public outcry after the first-round party switching, if this regime had not been deaf, it could not have repeated the same act. Is this government any better than the autocratic regimes of the past? The MDP strongly asserts that it is important for the ULD to form a negotiation body for the sake of political stability. On the contrary, even some lawmakers of the ruling party have aired concerns that such an attempt is liable to damage political stability by pitting the ruling camp against the angered opposition. Still, the ruling camp has stuffed its ears against constructive criticism, intent on grasping immediate benefits.

The charade is obviously to lend a helping hand to the ULD, but the method employed is laughable. As it is, the political scene is in turmoil with the prosecutors' investigation into the funneling of election campaign funds by the Agency for National Security Planning, which has hamstrung the former ruling party and the opposition. The leasing of the lawmaker was staged in the midst of this chaos. We can read the ruling party's shallow calculation to minimize the criticism to be triggered by its immoral behavior. There is no sign of internal debate, just the outcome of a closed-door meeting. It is not the straight path to be taken by a political party and a great departure from a high-level politics demanded by the public. The switching of allegiance this time around has proven that the MDP leadership's claim of ignorance at the time of the first operation was a lie. Nevertheless, the MDP leaders have not offered a word of apology. Do they take the Korean people for puppets?

When the government acts this way, what use will it be if the president puts forth political renewal measures? The government's intentions have been laid bare with the introduction of party-hopping as the first collaboration after the restoration of the coalition between President Kim Dae-jung and the ULD honorary president, Kim Jong-pil. The true face of the "strong politics" stressed by the ruling camp appears to be a single-handed politics that leaves the Grand National Party, half of the National Assembly, out in the cold. The recent series of events backs our suspicion that the prosecution's probe into the diversion of election funds is somehow related to the ruling camp's political timetable. However, the times have changed and such reckless politics is no longer viable. We have not forgotten that President Kim expressed his regrets at the year-end. We urge him to return to that attitude, strive to restore bipartisanship between the ruling camp and the opposition and marshal national power to overcome the crisis.

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