[EDITORIALS]A desperate planThe Millennium Democratic Party presidential nominee Roh Moo-hyun tried to show a lot of ideas during a news conference Thursday to distance himself from President Kim Dae-jung. By calling for the removal of the prime minister, justice minister and the minister for Government Administration and Home Affairs, he may even have come across as challenging the constitutional power of the president to appoint the cabinet. Mr. Roh also stepped up pressure on the president himself, calling for the closure of the Peace Foundation and for the departure of the president's son, Representative Kim Hong-il, from the Millennium Democratic Party.
Mr. Roh's comments, which he dubbed "a great reorientation of the way of thinking," are noteworthy in trying to break much of the MDP's way of thinking. His proposal for a systematic program to fight corruption is worthy of deliberation in the National Assembly. And credit is also due for declaring that he would forego the premium that comes with being the nominee for the incumbent party. But there is an underlying motive to distance himself from the president and to regain momentum in the race that limits credibility and practicality.
The idea of a neutral cabinet Mr. Roh proposed can backfire and create further political conflict because of the Grand National Party's rejection and the discontent of the Blue House. If the cabinet members are replaced as called for at this point in the president's term, it is bound to further undermine Mr. Kim's mandate and put the effectiveness of a neutral cabinet that Mr. Roh proposes into question. And considering the organic relationship that is required within the cabinet, there is impracticality in giving the Grand National Party the pick of justice minister. So it appears that the proposals are part of a desperate plan by Mr. Roh to, more than anything else, distance himself personally from the president and, because of that, the plan fails to convince. And the deteriorating relationship between Mr. Roh and the Blue House is just what the GNP would want.
Mr. Roh said investigations of corruption during this administration should be concluded by the end of the year. He would have been more convincing if the proposals were made after he acknowledged the party's responsibility as well as the Blue House's.