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Opinion

[Editorial] New floor leaders

Rep. Kim Jin-pyo, new floor leader of the main opposition Democratic Party, vows to drub the ruling party in the parliamentary elections scheduled for next April. But he has much work to do with his counterpart from the ruling party before going on the stump together with Rep. Sohn Hak-kyu, the leader of his party.

On being elected floor leader on Friday, Kim, a second-term lawmaker from Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, said his party aims at winning more 50 of the 82 electoral districts that the ruling party is holding in Seoul’s metropolitan area. He was reiterating an ambitious election promise he had made as a candidate from the metropolitan area.

But what Kim needs to do as the opposition’s incoming floor leader is to establish working relations with his counterpart from the ruling Grand National Party, Rep. Hwang Woo-yea. The relationship must be based on mutual trust, which the two floor leaders will sorely need if they are to ensure a smooth, violence-free operation of the 18th National Assembly during its final year.

The public still vividly remembers the violence-ridden committee and plenary sessions the National Assembly has had in the past. Among them was a December plenary session in which some lawmakers were bloodied as the ruling party broke through the opposition’s human barricade to railroad the 2011 budget request.

During the final year of the four-year legislature, there are likely to be quite a few bills that could be as explosive as the 2011 budget request. Undoubtedly among them will be a motion for the ratification of the Korea-U.S. free trade agreement, which opposition leader Sohn says is severely flawed.

In a post-election interview, Kim promised to seek dialogue and compromise on all pending political issues. He will certainly find a receptive ear in Hwang, who declared earlier that the National Assembly law does not condone any physical violence.
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