TITLE

Theater of the Absurd

AUTHOR(S)
Wehrfritz, George; Lee, B.J.
PUB. DATE
October 2003
SOURCE
Newsweek (Pacific Edition);10/6/2003 (Pacific Edition), Vol. 142 Issue 14, p32
SOURCE TYPE
Periodical
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The article discusses South Korean politics and the role of the Millennium Democratic Party in government. Just last week 37 loyalists bolted the ruling party. They had been considered staunch supporters of President Roh Moo Hyun, and analysts interpreted their defection as a prelude to Roh's own abandonment of the MDP ahead of legislative elections next April. With the new pro-Roh party occupying only 15 percent of parliamentary seats, Roh now has little legislative support, making him a true lame duck. Disgruntled MDP lawmakers remain loyal to former president Kim Dae Jung, Roh's erstwhile mentor. Roh ran a populist campaign implicitly critical of Kim's pro-American stance--and once in office, set about eradicating Kim's influence to the point that he, too, may now be ready to bolt the MDP. Critics of that plan believe the result will mirror Japan's system, where family dynasties monopolize parliamentary seats for generations and party bosses wield the real power. South Korea's political parties are ideologically indistinct. Continuity is lost with each presidential election, and voters can't opt to stay the course even when an administration has served the country well. Opinions on reforming the system are divided. Proponents back one of two options: a parliamentary system based on the Japanese model or a U.S.-style presidency limited to two four-year terms.
ACCESSION #
11027112

 

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