&#91EDITORIALS&#93Blue House stepping stone

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&#91EDITORIALS&#93Blue House stepping stone

The plans announced yesterday for reform of the Blue House were a letdown. It was difficult to read in them any resolve to address the present crisis situation. Previous presidents have refused to acknowledge crises. May Roh Moo-hyun not make the same mistake.
The Blue House will retain its “five chief secretaries, six special advisers” structure. Thus government management is to remain as is. It is a long way from the “reform president, responsibility prime minister” design, with Mr. Roh in charge of reform policies and Goh Kun running the administration. This problem is urgent. If the prime minister is not to be allowed to carry out his function, then give the ministers self-regulation rights. If neither, then the Blue House should take over the function. The present situation, neither this nor that, is unacceptable. Unable to present a long-term national plan, the government cultivates ambiguity while the voices of interest groups grow louder. How long will the administration drift and the public worry?
The latest personnel changes consist of minor adjustments to certain positions and swapping seats among old faces. There seems to have been no attempt to seek out new people. The only notable change was appointing the assistant deputy finance minister as policy planning secretary. It is another sign that the Blue House is not taking the crisis seriously.
It is also a problem that the Blue House is seen as a training school for election candidates. Seven officials resigned to run for the National Assembly next April. Of course, there is no rule that Blue House staff members cannot be candidates. But these people have been in their jobs less than six months, hardly enough time to master their duties. It now seems that their minds weren’t in their jobs from the beginning. The Blue House can hardly avoid the criticism that it allowed itself to be used as a stepping stone for candidates.
There is talk of a second “election exodus” next February. The presidential secretary for general affairs said Mr. Roh had recommended that he run in Busan. We now know where the president’s interest lies. How can we trust the Blue House’s announcement that no more staff members will run in elections?
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