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[EDITORIALS]Questionable Ascent, Swift Departure

May 23,2001
Ahn Dong-su, the protagonist of an upheaval triggered by a pledge of loyalty to the president and the ruling party as in the age of kingdoms, has resigned from office two days after being appointed. It is the shortest term a minister has held office. He resigned, because it was proven he was neither qualified nor moral enough to oversee a prosecuting agency.

The statement pledging loyalty makes one question his conscience. However, his resignation has not resolved the crisis. How such a person could be named minister of justice without being vetted and whether the person who recommended Mr. Ahn had hidden intentions should be investigated. The incident over the pledge document and his nomination has cost society too much.

Just as with former president Kim Young-sam, who proclaimed that "personnel is all," the incumbent administration's appointment of personnel and cabinet shakeups have been met with objections. A dispute over the preference for people from the Cholla region for positions of responsibility at audit and inspection organizations, has not ceased; nor has the dispute over the assignment of people from outside to high-ranking positions in government-invested institutions and public firms. The present incident is also said to have occurred because the replacement of the justice minister was wholly determined according to the regional background without sufficient verification of Mr. Ahn's qualifications.

It is a serious issue if the presidential secretary for civil affairs at the Blue House in charge of verifying its personnel pool and their profiles was not functioning properly. It would only mean that the president does not trust the official channel but listens to suggestions from other channels. If the president's assistants are not working properly, there is no guarantee that similar personnel crisis will not recur.

Inspection into O Jang-seop, minister of construction and transportation, suspected of having camouflaged the transfer of real estate, should also be expediently carried out.

Trying to avert the problem for fear of breaking the Kim Dae-jung - Kim Jong-pil coalition, could worsen the situation.



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