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Changing their positions

May 18,2017
The president who domineered over the ruling party and shunned the opposition has fallen. The ruling party did not have any independent voice. The opposition spent more time on the streets to protest than in the legislature. New President Moon Jae-in met with the leaders of the four mainstream parties as soon as he was sworn in and pledged to share what goes on the foreign and North Korean front with them. He invited the floor leaders for a meal on Friday. If the president keeps up such open attitude, the legislative response to the government will also change.

The ruling and opposition parties have switched positions upon the inauguration of a liberal president. The government-legislature relationship should also go from contentious to cooperative. The Democratic Party and the People’s Party have chosen their new floor leaders. The ruling DP has elected three-term lawmaker Woo Won-sik as the new floor leader. “The success of the Moon Jae-in government hinges on cooperation between the ruling and opposition parties,” he said.

Four-term lawmaker Kim Dong-cheol from the People’s Party has said his party will both cooperate with and go against the government when necessary. The floor leaders of four parties all must remember their pivotal role as any of the government bills must earn 180 votes to pass the legislature.

The main opposition Liberal Korea Party (formerly the ruling Saenuri Party) must remember how nothing went across the legislative bottleneck because of the knee-jerk opposition from the DP. The DP on the other hand must remember how it weak it had been under the overbearing Saenuri Party. The opposition camp should cooperate with the confirmation of the prime minister nominee and bill to reorganize the government to give impetus to the new administration.

The government’s proposal to create a supplementary budget of 10 trillion won ($8.92 billion) to stimulate the economy through surge in public jobs requires further review in consideration of a fiscal integrity. Instead, the ruling party should compromise to pass the regulation-free zone bill sought by the smaller three parties to help revive the economy.

JoongAng Ilbo, May 17, Page 30