[EDITORIALS]Can it pass 'genuine' test?

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[EDITORIALS]Can it pass 'genuine' test?

Chung Mong-joon, presidential candidate of National Alliance 21, impressed Koreans yesterday by accepting in a clean and respectable manner his defeat in the competition with Roh Moo-hyun, presidential candidate of the Millennium Democratic Party. The two candidacies were merged, with Mr. Roh as the standard bearer against Lee Hoi-chang, presidential candidate of the Grand National Party. After the results of the poll were announced, Mr. Chung immediately congratulated Mr. Roh. The scene contradicted traditional political behavior, where politicians repeatedly denied defeat.

That is why, despite inherent limitations and loopholes in the system that was used to choose one of the two as a challenger against Mr. Lee, Mr. Roh and Mr. Chung's joining forces may have diffused the public's scorn over the conflict between Mr. Roh and Mr. Chung, who seemed to have nothing in common except criticism of Mr. Lee.

Mr. Roh showed a gambler-like boldness to draw Mr. Chung to his side, which added a dramatic aspect to the nerve-racking competition between the two. In the prolonged negotiations over the details of the polls to select the winner, Mr. Roh made large concessions to Mr. Chung, at the risk of being pushed off the cliff.

Thanks to Mr. Roh's bold determination, the general public was captivated by the thrill and excitement involved in the unprecedented political experiment of choosing a single candidate against the opposite side through polls despite numerous challenges and criticism. It is, however, unclear whether the drama will keep people tuned in until the presidential election, which is 23 days away, because there are still fundamental problems. The unconditional unification of the two political camps was hastily done, ignoring differences in the political beliefs or political lines of each other.

If it is found that their "coordination" of policies was a mere splitting of government positions, the unification of political camps will bear the stigma of "fake cooperation."
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