Does Korea Need One More Analogous Political Group?
When a new political party appears in Korea, voters know another major election is approaching. We hope the People’s Participation Party (PPP) launched Sunday will not follow the path of numerous such transient political groups that have come and gone over the past half century. Unfortunately, it is likely to end up that way.
As seen by the new party’s name, platform and its leading figures, the PPP might as well be called the ``Roh Moo-hyun party.” The party therefore vowed to inherit the spirits of the late former president by seeking ``participatory politics” and ``perfect communication” with voters.
These attempts must be a worthy experiment in innovating the nation’s political culture and behavior marked by voters’ alienation from real politics. The problem is, one can hardly find sufficient content _ a clear party line and specific policies distinguishable from the existing opposition parties _ to fill the fresh operational style.
Little wonder the Democratic Party (DP) is accusing the PPP of weakening the opposition forces before a major battle of local elections on June 2. It is questionable of course whether the DP is qualified to make such criticism, as the main opposition party has failed to deter the unilateral conduct of state affairs by the Lee Myung-bak administration.
At the same time, it is hard to deny the need for all opposition parties to make a united front in the run-up to the local polls, widely regarded as the mid-term appraisal of the Lee administration and a weathercock of even the next presidential elections _ whether or not the governing Grand National Party (GNP) will have to relinquish its power.
For the opposition groups to be reborn into the so-called ``progressive coalition,” they should come up with a concerted political line and platform that can effectively compete with President Lee and his GNP. Voters do not care whether the alternative group is DP or PPP but whether these parties can help to improve their increasingly aggravating livelihoods.
The PPP in particularly should ponder why the late former President Roh and his Uri Party failed to remain in power in the first place _ their failure to prevent the ever-widening income gap and increasingly hard lives. Their former leader’s tragic end cannot guarantee the success of the old party unless it is armed with new policies.
Currently, the number of virtual jobless amounts to 4 million and household debts is reaching record-high levels to threaten not just the public’s livelihood but also the national economy, reflecting the total failure of the Lee administration, which is more bent on national prestige than on the everyday life of people despite the worker-friendly rhetoric.
The opposition should unite as one to persuade _ and show _ voters that it can change the public’s economy. One of the foremost tasks facing them is the overhaul of the nomination system. On the basis of a joint nomination, they might as well consider, for instance, introducing a British-style allotment of marks by contenders’ past accomplishments.
There have been about 200 political parties in Korea over the past six decades with their average lifespan remaining at a mere three years. Unless the opposition comes up with realistic policies that can actually improve people’s lives, the new party will increase the number by one while shortening the average duration.