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Roh promotes ‘debate republic’ among senior staff

Mar 07,2003
President Roh Moo-hyun is encouraging Blue House staff and cabinet members to hold debates on pending issues. “People who work with me for the first time are not familiar with holding debates,” President Roh said. “Holding debates should be an established practice to ensure efficient government operation.”
President Roh demanded yesterday that Blue House staff and cabinet ministers be prepared to participate in debates over certain subjects, determined by the Blue House and the prime minister’s office in advance. The Ministry of Finance and Economy will make a report at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting on the postponement of government investment. The Ministry of Planning and Budget said it would brief on carrying out early stages of the national budget.
President Roh and Blue House senior secretaries, secretaries and cabinet ministers will have workshops on Friday and Saturday on government administration. On the first day, President Roh will give a speech on the philosophy and mission of “participatory government,” the administration’s slogan. On the second day, participants will discuss fair and transparent government and balancing decentralization and autonomy.
A Blue House official said the president would not make unilateral decisions after being briefed by senior officials. Combining opinions of many persons, the official said, could develop reasonable policies.
Meetings of presidential senior secretaries and secretaries take on average two hours. A close Roh aide said that it is a “habit” of the president to hold debates. “The new government will become a ‘debate repub-lic,’” the official said.
Song Gi-in, a priest, said that during his days as a human-rights lawyer, President Roh and Moon Jae-in, a lawyer who is now senior presidential secretary of civil affairs, used to discuss cases all night. Both men firmly believed that they came up with better conclusions together than on their own, Mr. Song said.


by Lee Soo-ho


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