중앙데일리

Cries of bias over Roh staffing

Apr 12,2003
Taking cries of foul from its traditional support base seriously, Blue House and Millennium Democratic Party officials were busy yesterday trying to counter accusations from the Jeolla provinces, a traditional MDP stronghold, that government appointments favored the Gyeongsang provinces.
Moon Jae-in, presidential secretary for civil affairs held a meeting in Bogil-do, South Jeolla province, where 37-year-old Kang Je-yun is on a hunger strike to protest the expanded construction of a reservoir dam. In the meeting, Mr. Moon pledged an objective feasibility examination of the construction.
Kim Doo-gwan, minister of Government Administration and Home Affairs, headed to Gwangju, a metropolitan city in the Jeolla region, the ministry said, listen to feedback on government policies. But speculation was strong that Mr. Kim was there to appease strong protest from the Jeolla provinces on ministry’s recent reshuffle.
Charges of discrimination against the region were made at a National Assembly hearing on Monday. Representative Kang Un-tae of the Millennium Democratic Party asked in a memo he sent to Prime Minister Goh Kun that “the discrimination against the Jeolla region in the new government’s reshuffles” be corrected.
“By asking senior officials who are natives of certain regions to resign from office or by putting them on waiting lists can prompt disharmony among regions, and between Seoul and these provinces,” said MDP Representative Jeon Gap-gil, referring to the recent reshuffle of senior officials at the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs.
“Ministries are recommending natives of South Gyeongsang province for director-general level or higher posts, conscious that the president hails from that region,” said a Blue House official on the condition of anonymity. He said that a high percentage of mid-ranking civil officials who are natives of the Jeolla provinces had been promoted during the former President Kim Dae-jung’s administration. “So that means that there is a smaller pool of mid-rank Jeolla natives to recommend for promotion,” he said.
The Blue House conducted a phone survey of 1,000 residents in North and South Jeolla provinces on Wednesday. In the survey, 25.7 percent of the respondents said that there were not many Jeolla natives in senior posts in the new government, 9.1 percent said that there was a “considerable” number and 58.2 percent said that the number had dropped compared with the number in the previous administration but representation from Jeolla in the Roh administration was not low.
Veteran members of the governing party have been claiming discrimination against Jeolla. Yesterday, the new party leadership asked the old guard to stop using of regionalism to hold on to power.
“The sentiment from Jeolla is that regionalism should be stopped,” said Representative Shin Ki-nam of the ruling party.


by Choi Hoon


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