The main opposition Democratic United Party signaled Tuesday that it would be willing to work with the governing Saenuri Party in passing more than 90 welfare and economic reform bills mutually pledged by both parties during the presidential election last year.
“There are some 90 pledges over which there is no disagreement (between our parties) or the disagreement can be minimized,” said DUP Rep. Kim Jin-pyo, who heads the party’s campaign pledge realization committee, in a radio appearance Tuesday.
“Passing (the common campaign pledges) into law during February’s parliamentary session as soon as possible is the way to save the livelihood of the people.”
Kim noted that the progressive and conservative parties each made similar campaign pledges regarding economic democratization and the expansion of social welfare.
The specific bills mentioned by the three-term progressive lawmaker related to preventing chaebol companies from exclusively doing business with its own subsidiaries, providing free welfare to children, expanding government-run nurseries, and increasing pensions for the elderly.
Kim noted that the two parties disagree regarding the closed-loop financial structure of chaebol which allows family owners to yield extensive control over conglomerates, which the conservative Saenuri Party has favored preserving.
The gesture toward cooperation comes during the DUP’s efforts to reinvent itself amid mounting public disapproval.
A survey of public approval rating for political parties, conducted last week by polling agency Realmeter, found that the DUP garnered an approval rating of 29.0 percent, far below the 49.8 percent approval rating for the Saenuri Party.
The DUP’s approval rating fared similar to the 28.0 percent for Lee Myung-bak.
Shortly after the polls were released, Kim pledged during a party committee meeting Monday that the DUP “would not be a party that merely opposes everything, but it will cooperate with the governing party on what should be cooperated, and criticize what should be criticized.”
By Samuel Songhoon Lee (email@example.com