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Politics is about compromise

Dec 04,2019
The year-end political landscape is a chaotic mess. The National Assembly has once again missed the Dec. 2 legal deadline to vote on the budget bill for next year. The budget bill has never been passed on time, except for once in 2014. The opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) has called for filibusters to stall votes on 199 bills. The ruling Democratic Party (DP) accused the opposition for delaying the budget review, while the LKP blames the DP for neglecting its duty by protesting filibusters.

The blame-game has been never-ending. After setting a deadline on Tuesday, the DP threatened to railroad the fast-track bills with other opposition parties. LKP vows to block it with its life.

The standoff has caused delays of much-awaited bills related to people’s lives, such as a revised transportation act to toughen penalization for violations in school zones after the death of a 9-year-old, a relief for Pohang earthquake victims, and a revised bill for replacement military service. The deferment in the legislative approval for extending terms for dispatched soldiers could mean Korean troops in the Middle East and Somalia must pull out.

The rival parties are at standoff mainly because of the two bills being fast-tracked — electoral and prosecutorial reforms. The DP is pushing for the bills, while the LKP is staunchly against them. The DP likens LKP to criminals being taken hostage, while LKP accuses the DP of fast-tracking bills illegally. Because of its insistence on fast-track, the LKP cannot bring DP to the negotiating table. LKP also must not resort to knee-jerk opposition.

Politics run on compromises. Political parities cannot achieve all of their goals. The electoral law requires a bipartisan agreement. DP head Lee Hae-chan promised to work hard with the opposition to reach a settlement. The people are only suffering when rivaling parties do not budge an inch. They must put public interests first, for a change.

JoongAng Ilbo, Dec. 3, Page 34