[EDITORIALS]An illicit and impure union

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[EDITORIALS]An illicit and impure union

Roh Moo-hyun, the presidential candidate of the Millennium Democratic Party, and Chung Mong-joon, the presidential candidate of National Unity 21, have agreed to field a united presidential candidate. It was probably not an easy agreement to reach, and that does not mean that it should be embraced.

Mr. Roh and Mr. Chung will not be able to escape criticism that they are entering an illicit and impure union since they share no common political platform. Their union's only purpose is to stunt Lee Hoi-chang's presidential ambitions. It is farcical, even detrimental to Korea's political development.

Mr. Roh defends the union because it is, in effect, a preliminary showdown prior to the Dec. 19 fireworks with Mr. Lee of the Grand National Party. But the country has witnessed the regression of politics and failure wrought by the coalition between President Kim Dae-jung and a political boss, Kim Jong-pil. Their union has given us a valuable lesson: the joining of hands may carry an election but does not necessarily carry state affairs.

Mr. Roh and Mr. Chung's union is unprecedented. How each plans to make the other give up his presidential ambitions is akin to stepping into a minefield. Before we even discuss the selection process, it is an act of self-denial and self-deprecation to allow a public poll to select the final candidate when one of the candidates has already been chosen through a series of primaries. Even the poll itself, with little more than a month until the election, possibly violates the Election Law.

Another idea is a television debate, also beholden to legality issues. The Election Law encourages debates and discussions -- based on fairness. The issue of fairness may arise if the networks award air time to certain candidates so people can decide who should forsake the candidacy. The National Election Commission and the major networks should keep the airwaves for use as a forum without slander or mudslinging.

We question the relevance of the Roh-Chung union, at this point, when they are about to walk to the altar. We do not want further problems. The parties should find a plausible reason to explain why a united candidate is called upon. They should also address the questions of legality and be smart enough to not leave an irrevocable blemish on our political history.
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