[EDITORIALS]Kim taking the right road

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[EDITORIALS]Kim taking the right road

By saying "I will not interfere in the matters of the ruling Millennium Democratic Party, nor engage in creating a new political party as rumored," President Kim Dae-jung affirmed his pledge to focus on state affairs. This is a step forward on his promise to break with political cohorts to focus on state affairs, as illustrated by his resignation from the ruling party leadership.

By declaring that he will not interfere in the nomination of the ruling party's presidential candidate, he has taken a neutral position, eradicating the chance of controversy over his motives. By announcing he will not engage in creating a new political party, he has stonewalled himself from rumors and speculation that he may align himself with his former rivals - Kim Young-sam and Kim Jong-pil. This is equivalent to rejecting a role in the presidential election.

Of course, not all people have welcomed the president's remarks. Some claim that, as a lame-duck president, he has no power to affect the Millennium Democratic Party's nomination process nor to create a new political party and that his words are meaningless. With public trust in his administration at a nadir, some question the credibility of the president's words.

Thus, the president may do well to take specific steps to enhance his credibility. First, he should work on making state affairs more transparent. Without an investigation into the collusive links among start-up entrepreneurs, politicians and government officials, he will find difficulty upgrading his administration's efficiency. The president should ensure predictability in state affairs. To do that, he needs to reshuffle his cabinet. His resignation from ruling party leadership two months ago has created a demand for a cabinet reshuffle, a demand that has yet to be met. He should determine whether he will change the economic team or the minister in charge of the 2002 World Cup games or whether he will retain ministers responsible for election related duties. Cabinet nominees will show whether the president is intent on balanced personnel management and on forming a cabinet of experts to deal with state tasks.

Focusing on state affairs and noninterference in the presidential elections are tightly linked, like two sides of a coin. If the president achieves these goals, he will be able to successfully wrap up his tenure.
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