[EDITORIALS]Mr. Kim's Momentous Decision

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[EDITORIALS]Mr. Kim's Momentous Decision

Will President Kim Dae-jung do something dramatic? Does he really believe that this is the last opportunity to reinvent his government? With these questions in mind, the political arena is anxious about the discussions on Wednesday at the Blue House by the Millennium Democratic Party's leadership. The people, who gave a warning to the ruling party in the recent by-elections, are also closely watching the meeting. It will be decided there whether the government can refresh itself to run for the last year of its term or whether the power leakage has gone too far to be kept under control. Everything depends on President Kim's decisions.

Mr. Kim should have an accurate understanding of the current situation before making any decision. Because of intraparty strife, the MDP is in chaos - to the extent that the meeting at the Blue House had to be renamed as a discussion among the party leadership, not a Supreme Council meeting. The confrontation between the old and new Donggyo-dong factions is fierce. The antagonism among the party's presidential hopefuls, attacking each other with various conspiracy theories, is filled with the damp smell of a power struggle.

Diplomacy is in bad shape; farmers are in despair over rice policy and do not trust the government. Confusion about education policy is a public burden. There seem to be too many things that the government cannot fix, and the intraparty strife is aggravating the problems.

Here is the solution. First of all, President Kim should put public welfare and economic recovery back at the center of national politics. He should call officials who brought about the current situation to account. It is not a matter of whether they are legally innocent or not; it is a matter of regaining public trust. The problem of the MDP's Kwon Roh-kap and the Blue House's Park Jie-won has to be solved. Unless President Kim can clear up the suspicion that a few secretaries monopolize the president's ear and that the old Donggyo-dong faction has secretly influenced the Blue House, he can hardly keep command of his government.

His legacy will come from the people's evaluation, not from that of a few Blue House secretaries. That is why a thorough change in personnel and in administrative style is needed now.

He must clear up a number of scandals, including that involving Lee Yong-ho. Law enforcement authorities who have lost public confidence must be replaced, as well as officials who try to cultivate some connections with presidential contenders.

The people are not interested in when a presidential candidate will be announced and who is now in the lead for the nomination. The people's interest is focused on what the president will do to reinvigorate his administration. They are waiting for his decision.
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