[EDITORIALS]Stick to substance

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[EDITORIALS]Stick to substance

In a series of interviews to commemorate the 37th anniversary of the JoongAng Ilbo, presidential candidates Lee Hoi-chang of the Grand National Party, Roh Moo-hyun of the Millennium Democratic Party, the independent Chung Moon-joon and the Democratic Labor Party's Kwon Young-ghil tried to lay out their opinions and visions for the era. The candidates all called for the end of an "imperial presidency," neutrality in the prosecutors office, public welfare and enhancement of Koreans' educational level.

But the candidates differed in their opinions on North Korea, the nation's conglomerates and standardization of high school education. The candidates, who have been engaged in denigrating one another until now, gave the public an opportunity to see what they stand for.

The interviews also showed that the candidates still have not refined their visions and policies. The Grand National Party's Lee Hoi-chang has vowed not to move into the Blue House should he win, in order to break the tradition of a domineering president, but he has not addressed how he would handle the security implications and the costs of doing so.

The Millennium Democratic Party's Mr. Roh has vowed to implement regional quotas of public servants to break Seoul's stranglehold on such jobs. Mr. Roh has not said how he would handle charges of reverse discrimination and fears that the move would inflame regionalism.

When asked about his company's future should he become president, Mr. Chung asked back, "How could I even think about giving special privileges to Hyundai?" But his Hyundai Heavy Industries shares are in a trust, not sold, and questions remain about his business ties.

Free medical care and free education were Mr. Kwon's promises. The Democratic Labor Party leader needs to explain how much of a financial burden that would be.

This series of interviews provided an opportunity for the presidential campaign to shift to a more policy-centered competition, and we hope that will continue. Just saying they are better than Kim Dae-jung or each other will not suffice; we need competitive policy visions.
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