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(EDITORIAL from The Korea Herald on April 29)

All News 07:09 April 29, 2016

Talk of coalition
People' party's proposal ill-advised

Talk of forming a coalition government has become a topic in politics since the April 13 general election, which relegated the ruling party to the second-largest party and which did not give any party a majority control of the parliament.

The proposal for a coalition government comes mostly from members of the People's Party, a splinter opposition group that emerged as the third-largest party by winning 38 parliamentary seats.

The proposal is apparently aimed at increasing political clout of the party, as it indicates the possibility of alliance with the conservative ruling party. What is clear is that a tie-up between the Saenuri Party and the People's Party -- let alone forming a coalition -- will embarrass the main opposition Minjoo Party of Korea, which anticipated an opposition alliance against the ruling party.

It seems that the proposal is part of the People's Party's strategy for the next presidential election. Its proponents must have taken cue from the coalition government formed by Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-pil through the 1997 presidential election.

The coalition agreement helped Kim Dae-jung, who needed support from provinces other than his home turf in the southwest, win voters from Kim Jong-pil's support based in the Chungcheong provinces.

But the coalition agreement, under which Kim Jong-pil served as the prime minister, was made shortly before the presidential campaign. The next presidential election will be in December next year, and we still don't have any idea who will be running.

Besides, it is next to impossible for the People's Party to form a coalition government with President Park Geun-hye's ruling party.

It was not surprising that in a meeting with senior editors on Tuesday, Park flatly dismissed the possibility of a coalition government. She said that the idea was “undesirable” in that “people with different thoughts” would be unable to pull together well.

Even if she had not said this, you would already know that Park would be the last person to form a coalition with an opposition party. Think about how she treated the opposition -- and even ruling party members who were not loyal to her.

The general election certainly strengthened the People's Party and increased the political potential of its leader Ahn Cheol-soo. But the party has yet to establish its identity and show how it is different from other parties such as Saenuri and Minjoo.

That is the mandate that voters gave to the People's Party. It should follow that mandate instead of playing the premature game of floating the idea of a coalition government. Its 38 lawmakers-elect have yet to take their oath of office.
(END)

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