[EDITORIALS]Time to back offSocial conflict and interest groups’ battles for selfish gains have gone beyond the limits of decency. The unrest has become too serious to simply blame all the problems on government incompetence. The confusion that results when the conflict surfaces becomes a burden on the public. The social and interest groups whose actions led to President Roh Moo-hyun’s lamentation that he feels “a sense of crisis that I can’t do the job” must practice restraint.
This retreat must be led by the groups whose support led to Mr. Roh’s election victory. They have labeled as “humiliating” Mr. Roh’s diplomacy of pragmatism. The groups that have pressed on with illegal activities, damaging the administration’s authority, consistently have been the president’s most ardent supporters. And as things unravel the ruling Millennium Democratic Party is busy with an internal power struggle, aggravating the problem.
The different interest groups must come together to help the new president tackle the national agenda and set priorities. If they keep pressing the president only for their own interests, what is he expected to do? The public must realize that Mr. Roh is no longer an opposition lawmaker nor a candidate for president. He is the president.
Mr. Roh must look back to find out how this situation came about. The greatest responsibility rests with him. He can no longer afford to be ambiguous on issues just to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. As the head of state, he must make his position clear on what is acceptable and what is not. Those who have committed wrongdoing must be questioned and punished. The government must ensure that government administration is not just a human activity but also something that runs in a systematic fashion. The prime minister and the cabinet must be delegated proper authority to do their jobs. Their performance must be reviewed periodically. There must also be a thorough review of the people who operate the Blue House, whose amateurism has been much criticized. It is time to make a new start and put the government’s house in order.