(EDITORIAL from Korea JoongAng Daily on Nov. 28)
The public is sick of all parties
A recent survey shows that public support for the governing People Power Party (PPP) and the Democratic Party (DP) is abysmally low while people's disappointment with both parties reached very high levels. The results came after Gallup Korea conducted a poll on 1002 citizens for three days from Nov. 22. The favorability rating for the PPP fell to as low as 28 percent, while 64 percent didn't like the party. For the DP, the corresponding figures were 32 percent and 59 percent.
In past surveys, if a political party got a low approval rating, the rival party usually benefitted with a boost in its ratings. Not any more. Even if support for President Yoon Suk-yeol and his PPP falls, the DP can't take advantage of it. That heralds a grim fate for both parties. The harsh reality is that people hate politicians and their endless political battles without any sense of negotiation or compromise.
The low favorability rating reflect great disappointment among the public. Yoon came to power thanks to endless policy failures by the Moon Jae-in administration, but nothing has changed. Despite alarming signs of a looming economic crisis from high prices and interest rates as well as slowed exports, the PPP didn't demonstrate any skills to push its policies or enact laws through negotiations with the DP.
For instance, the president invited leaders of the PPP to a luncheon at his new presidential residence in Hannam-dong. He should have invited opposition leaders, too, if he really wanted to explain the results of his diplomatic trips to Southeast Asia for the Asean and G20 summits. If Yoon really wanted his administration's budget bill to pass in the legislature, he should have sought cooperation from the DP.
The DP also must reflect on the way it behaves. As the prosecution is investigating its leader Lee Jae-myung over a number of allegations against him, the entire party is bent on protecting him. The party is also engrossed with attacking the president, his wife and Justice Minister Han Dong-hoon. The DP went overboard when it excessively cut the government-proposed budget and instead allocated billions of dollars for its own agenda items. That's not how the system of checks and balances is supposed to work.
Political circles must start competing over how to help people weather dark clouds over the economy. The PPP and DP said they will form a group to implement campaign promises of Yoon and Lee, who was the presidential candidate of the DP in the last election. Since the two parties reached a consensus, they must narrow their differences. Voters are warning that they cannot win their hearts in elections if they are only conscious of their loyalists.
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