[EDITORIALS]Are these guys jiving us?

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[EDITORIALS]Are these guys jiving us?

How chaotic. We do not even know who the players are, with the presidential election less than a month away. The candidates, Roh Moo-hyun of the Millennium Democratic Party and Chung Mong-joon of National Unity 21, are still facing problems in their quest for a coalition. Compared with the successful negotiations between Kim Dae-jung and Kim Jong-pil in the 1997 presidential campaign, the disorder in this campaign is pronounced. With discussions for a unified candidate on shaky ground, a solidarity plan among Chung, MDP deserters, the United Liberal Democrats and Lee Han-dong is slowly emerging.

The dissension between Mr. Roh and Mr. Chung is so severe that the question: "Could they agree on a unified candidate?" is inevitable. Mr. Chung is requesting a renegotiation of the method to choose the coalition's presidential candidate after concluding that Mr. Roh's side leaked detailed information regarding the public poll. Of course, the MDP rejects such allegations as unsubstantiated charges, reflecting the bitterness that Mr. Chung cannot have it his way. Whatever happens, the nation, so shocked by the sudden consent by the two parties last weekend, is now left in a daze. The negotiations between the two candidates are as awkward as their attempt to join forces -- two hopefuls with such differing ideologies and policies. It is still unknown whether the results of a coalition would satisfy the expectations of either party.

What inflames the conflict between the parties of Mr. Roh and Mr. Chung is the quadripartite solidarity movement, which centers on Mr. Chung. The MDP says that Mr. Chung has redirected toward the movement. Such exchanges between the two only give the impression that they will blame the negotiation failure on each other.

At this point, both candidates must confirm their position on a unified candidate and disclose what their intentions are. Will they continue to pursue a coalition and unite under one candidate or will they give it up? Their ambiguity, taken only as election strategy with no intention of joining forces and lacking feasibility, will lead to further posturing and confusion in the presidential campaign.
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