[EDITORIALS]Off to a hopeful startThe National Assembly has finally passed a bill to name an independent counsel to investigate the alleged involvement of the Kim Dae-jung government in the money transfer to North Korea. The lawmakers also approved the appointment of the prime minister.
The independent counsel bill was passed by the opposition majority because the Millennium Democrats boycotted the vote. But it is still an important start in resolving the nation’s doubts on the scandal. The approval of Goh Kun as prime minister is also meaningful because it is a sign that both the ruling and opposition parties back the new government of Roh Moo-hyun.
Both parties are responsible for the haphazard passage of the bill, but the ruling Millennium Democratic Party is more responsible. People are demanding more information about the transfer of money to North Korea. The prosecutors have avoided investigating the case because of the immense political burden. Therefore, naming an independent counsel is a natural step, and the majority of the public supports such a move.
President Roh has said on numerous occasions that the case must be thoroughly investigated and clearly explained, but the bill was boycotted by the ruling party because a faction loyal to Kim Dae-jung strongly opposed the bill to protect the outgoing president.
Since the independent counsel bill was passed by the GNP alone, some worry that President Roh might veto it. We advise the president against this. If Mr. Roh vetoes the bill for political reasons, it will burden his new government.
It is fortunate that the prime minister approval was made by both ruling and opposition parties. If the opposition party had hindered the new government’s first day, it would have been politically unethical.
In the Kim Dae-jung government, the delay in approving Kim Jong-pil as the prime minister burdened the opposition for a long time. This time, one bill was boycotted, while another was approved normally. Lawmakers should learn a lesson from such a half success and try to talk to each other and cooperate. They must not repeat the evil practices of abusing majority power or resorting to force.