(EDITORIAL from Korea JoongAng Daily on April 1)

First, say what you'll do as a majority The official campaign for the April 10 parliamentary elections has begun. Two rivaling parties demand voters punish the other for what they did. Governing People Power Party (PPP) leader Han Dong-hoon urged voters to punish majority Democratic Party (DP) leader Lee Jae-myung for his corruption and hold former Justice Minister Cho Kuk -- the leader of a novel party he created to punish President Yoon Suk Yeol for his "prosecution-based dictatorship" -- accountable for his own injustice. In reaction, the DP leader asserted that voters' judgment of the Yoon administration is the "starting point of normalizing the nation and people's livelihood." But each party must first explain to voters what they stand for and how they can do better to make a difference. They must lay out their agendas when they win a majority. The parties pitch they need a majority, but we have seen the fallouts from the house run by a dominant majority. The DP, the governing party in 2020, swept up 180 seats, including those of its satellites, in the 300-member legislature in that year's parliamentary elections. The DP then railroaded controversial revisions to impose punitive taxes on multiple property owners and mandate new home buyers to live in their properties for a certain period of time. But the revisions only fueled housing prices and triggered a rent crisis. In the 2012 legislative elections, the Saenuri Party, a predecessor of the conservative PPP, gained a majority with 152 seats and also won the presidential election that year. But President Park Geun-hye clashed with her own party throughout her term and prompted a breakdown of the party ahead of the next election in 2016. The National Assembly was most dynamic and productive when it was under a competitive four party system with a larger opposition front. Only the die-hards rooting for the two major parties are active on the battlefield filled with deep hatred and distrust against one another, leaving little room for centrists and modera tes. A recent Gallup Korea poll showed that undecided voters reach as high as 18 percent. An election should be a hopeful celebration for a new future, not a revenge of the past. The country has a myriad of tough existential challenges -- the ultralow birthrate, fast aging of our society, ever-real North Korean nuclear threat, waning corporate competitiveness, worsening population concentration in the capital region and fallout from climate changes. Disparagement and slander won't solve any of these problems. The party leadership immersed in antipathy and vindictive language fails to show a vision for the future. We hope to see a contest over policies for the nation and people's livelihood, not over who is better at a smear campaigns. Source: Yonhap News Agency

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