[EDITORIALS]Rising Voices in the Ruling Party

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[EDITORIALS]Rising Voices in the Ruling Party

Calls for change, like a fresh cool breeze after a long-spell of humidity, are being heard within the ruling Millennium Democratic Party. The party's reformist-leaning freshman and second-term legislators have called on those responsible to be held accountable for the ill-fated appointment of the 43-hour man, Justice Minister Ahn Dong-su, and demanded that the government revamp the personnel management system. Their calls are ultimately targeted at full-scale change in the way President Kim Dae-jung runs the administration as well as the party. Criticism is nothing new to the ruling party. But what is different with the latest criticism is that it stems from within the party, and it seems eventually headed to the top leadership of the party.

So far, the Blue House and the ruling party leadership have shown a disappointing response, which in turn, reflects their inability to grasp the seriousness of the situation. The government and the party's top leaders appear intent on quickly defusing of the problem, when there is a deeper undercurrent of problems to be addressed. It is reported that the leadership has set out to persuade the concerned lawmakers that the situation demands that they "unite and work together under the leadership of party leader, Kim Dae-jung."

Thursday's move of the lawmakers was not impromptu, but has been in the making for a long time. They were fully aware that their actions can be taken as mutiny. But they went ahead to take issue with the presidential aides, demonstrating their discontent with overall operation of state affairs has reached the limits. Gripped by a sense of urgency, "if things go as it is, not only will the party lose the presidential office, but ongoing reforms efforts will go under water," the junior lawmakers have warned. Their criticism of personnel management relying on private channels does not contradict the internal party demand that came at the end of last year.

There is still hope in the ruling party in that internal criticism can take place. Party leaders should not discount the comments, but take this opportunity to repair the faulty lines of communication within the incumbent government.

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