[EDITORIALS]Only Way Out of Political Quagmire

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[EDITORIALS]Only Way Out of Political Quagmire

The Millennium Democratic Party has yet to escape the quagmire of intraparty strife. All members of the party's Supreme Council offered to resign, and the party is in chaos. How thoroughly will the leadership be reshuffled? When will the party nominate its presidential candidate? Nothing is clear. Without a leadership in place, the party must muddle through until Tuesday when President Kim Dae-jung returns from the ASEAN+3 Summit in Brunei.

The cancellation of Saturday's scheduled Supreme Council meeting in the Blue House brought unprecedented humiliation on President Kim. It would have been unthinkable in the past that a meeting called by the president, also the party president, should be canceled because of conflict within the Supreme Council. Some doubt that the meeting, postponed to Wednesday, will occur even then, and some seek to establish an emergency provisional party leadership. When we talk about "lame-duck phenomenon," a leakage of power at the end of a government term, the Millennium Democrats are Exhibit A.

The people hate to hear the various conspiracy theories. Party officials and lawmakers defame each other even for small political gains. The Donggyo-dong faction murmurs of a conspiracy to blame it for the by-election defeats. Others see a conspiracy to undermine Rhee In-je, a presidential hopeful, or rail at different hobgoblins. The party is obsessed with next year's presidential race, while the voters are repudiating it for failing to run the government competently.

President Kim is also responsible. The people and even party officials have called a party shakeup vital, but we have heard no word from the president. Most people believe that a few individuals close to the president monopolize his sources of information and that through secret channels the Donggyo-dong faction influences his personnel and policy decisions. Public opinion is asking the president to stop giving jobs only to those he trusts. And he should sternly hold those close to him accountable for errors, even if they are legally innocent. The way out of the political quagmire is to meet the people's demands. The more the ruling camp tries to circumvent them, the greater the lame-duck phenomenon will grow. Much depends on Mr. Kim's decisions when he returns from Brunei.
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