[EDITORIALS]Staying aloft minus soccer

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[EDITORIALS]Staying aloft minus soccer

Chung Mong-Joon, an independent lawmaker, has officially announced that he will run for president. The move has long been expected. Still, the fact that he announced his presidential bid attracts our attention. Although he is a fourth-term legislator, he is better known as the country's soccer chief. In addition, he is a scion of the founder of the Hyundai Group, once Korea's biggest industrial conglomerate, and has enjoyed great support from voters even without organized help from a political party.

These are the obstacles Mr. Chung faces as a presidential candidate. His current political standing is less a result of his efforts to deal with his limitations as it is the public's disappointment and disenchantment with mainstream politics. He has made no major political contributions. What catapulted him to his status is the crisis that hit the Millennium Democratic Party and the timely World Cup fever. In that respect, he still has to prove his competence.

Politics is not a matter of only rhetoric and slogans. Politics is not an experiment, as was proven by his father, the late Chung Ju-yung, who founded the Hyundai Group and later made an unsuccessful bid for president in 1992. Therefore, Representative Chung must make clear his vision for managing this country and the truth about his character and ability. Going through rigorous scrutiny, he must answer questions about his personal life and doubts about a tycoon entering politics.

Once asked whether he had ever cheated on school examinations, he replied, "Roughly so." So far, he has been able to skirt tough questions with such unclear answers. Now that he has announced his candidacy, he can no longer take such an inexact tack.

Also, he must clarify his position about whether he would join hands with lawmakers who are bolting the Millennium Democratic Party. Plotting political partnerships aimed at winning the December presidential race, regardless of political ideology or policy lines, is a mere repetition of old political habits, despite his slogan of "national harmony." He must change his attitude to counter the negative perceptions of him.
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