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Representative democracy processes should be observed

Posted August. 25, 2014 06:01,   


Floor leader Park Young-sun of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy (NPAD) has proposed to the ruling Saenuri Party to form a three-way consultative body of the ruling/main opposition parties and the bereaved families of the Sewol ferry sinking to negotiate a special bill aimed at uncovering the details of the Sewol ferry disaster. Park said on Saturday that the bereaved families continue to oppose the bipartisan agreement due to their mistrust of the ruling party and the government. She said she was proposing this as confusion and distrust should be weeded out in the discussion process. Although this has the form of first hearing the opinions of the bereaved family representative, it is in actuality Park’s willing dismantlement of a re-agreement she struck with floor leader Lee Wan-koo of the Saenuri Party and demanded another round of negotiations.

Park is in a corner, and we can understand that. She overturned the original agreement with the Saenuri Party and eked out a second agreement, only to face the opposition of the bereaved families of the youngsters killed in the Sewol ferry disaster and hard-core members of the party. As she also heads of the NPAD`s emergency leadership committee, she will probably feel reluctant to face the ruling party and the public. Despite that, her rendering void the agreements on which she imprinted the seal not once but twice with her own hands and demanding a new agreement is not the attitude required of a party leader. She should demonstrate leadership with which she leads her party by sticking to the agreement, even if it means she needs to stake her leadership on it.

The three-way consultative body is akin to making the direct interested parties of the bereaved families participate in ruling-opposition party negotiations to enact a new special law for the Sewol ferry. It is a preposterous idea that harms the principles of representative democracy. If this act leaves a precedent, going forward, interested parties of the nation would all demand to take part in the enactment and the political circles would have no way to reasonably refuse. How will the NPAD handle the after-effects? No matter how different from other cases the Sewol ferry sinking was, that cannot be acknowledged as an exception that disables the reason for existence of the legislature, the National Assembly. The ruling and opposition parties should meet with the bereaved families and persuade them or they might consult their opinions in the enactment, but nothing more than that.

Although the National Assembly is filled with plans or laws to invigorate the economy for the people and innovate the nation, the main opposition’s insistence on its connection with the special Sewol ferry act is leaving other plans neglected. If time is necessary to persuade the bereaved families they should find a way to separate the passing of the special Sewol act and public livelihood acts. The National Assembly should not be paralyzed from functioning due to being held back by the Sewol act.