[EDITORIALS]A more open Blue HouseRevolutionary changes are promised for the Blue House. President-elect Roh Moo-hyun has presented the slogan, "Open Blue House, working president." The presidential organization will focus on policy planning and coordination, with frequent consultation between the president and his advisers.
Mr. Roh's instruction to the presidential transition committee to consider relocating Blue House offices is new and striking. He said that the current arrangement is too authoritarian. The offices of the president and the presidential secretaries are separated not only physically. The "10-minute walk" from the secretariat to the president has been charged with making the president more imperial and the aides more submissive. Delayed government operation and policy distortions have stemmed from such inefficiency. The transition committee is reportedly considering several options for relocating the offices. Any change would have more significance than just bringing the offices of the president and the secretaries closer. Frequent consultation with aides has the symbolic meaning of casting off closed-door government administration and introducing the heart-to-heart transmission of public opinion.
The plan jibes with Mr. Roh's intention to have the Blue House focus on policy planning and coordination. The bulky Blue House organization will be unnecessary if it hands over day-to-day administrative duties and interagency duties to the prime minister's office. At the same time, the proximity between the president and the secretaries will allow them to discuss state affairs more substantially and promote efficient management.
Former presidents pledged in their early days to open the Blue House to the public and make the presidential office more accessible. Such promises languished; security problems were cited. Former presidents also promised to transfer power to the cabinet, but they ended up arranging every state affair. Therefore, many people are skeptical about Mr. Roh's plans. We hope the new administration will be different from its predecessors.