[EDITORIALS]Reshuffle? Give it up

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[EDITORIALS]Reshuffle? Give it up

The Millennium Democratic Party reportedly intends to propose an all-out cabinet reshuffle to President Kim Dae-jung. Since their defeat in the June 13 local elections, the Millennium Democrats have been clamoring among themselves for "anti-corruption measures" as well as ideas on how to sever all ties with a president with more woes than days left in office. Not surprisingly, there have been visible signs of tension lately among party members and it seems that the best solution the party's supreme council has come up with for renovating the country is a complete cabinet reshuffle. Reshuffling might look attractive but it poses more questions than answers on maintaining stability and drawing an effective conclusion as the present administration nears an end.

To begin with, it has been less than two months since we've changed our deputy prime minister for economy and several other ministers including the deputy prime minister for education, the ministers of unification, foreign affairs, justice and commerce have been in office less than six months. With the presidential election barely half a year away, an all-out cabinet reshuffle would bring a storm of chaos in our administration rather than the shower of reform that the Millennium Democratic Party seems to expect. While Prime Minister Lee Han-dong, a National Assembly member, has survived a record of more than two years in office, the old practice of appointing a "politically colorless" old-timer as prime minister at the end of each administration to give it a "supra-partisan" and neutral coloring is not necessarily a good idea. Neutrality in an outgoing administration and in the elections only comes with the president's determination and the organized supervision of the government and all its public officers.

The Millennium Democratic Party's insistence on bringing up the issue of a cabinet reshuffle has the look of another "post-DJ image" strategy. When "DJ," or President Kim Dae-jung, left the party, a consensus was formed that his cabinet was now "de facto neutral," an idea to which the Millennium Democrats agreed. The impression left on the people, however, is a stale one. Without signs of repentance or humble acceptance for its election defeat, the Millennium Democratic Party will soon find out that most of the shuffling and reshuffling of ideas won't make any difference to the people.

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