[EDITORIALS]Behind Roh’s departureWith President Roh Moo-hyun’s departure from the Millennium Democratic Party, Korean politics is in a situation never experienced before. Although former presidents Roh Tae-woo, Kim Young-sam and Kim Dae-jung left their parties, they did so at the end of their tenure. Mr. Roh has decided to leave the party after only seven months in office and on his own accord. Under a situation like this, many people wonder whether relations between the government and the legislature can be normalized, whether the lame duck phenomena will start from the early days of Mr. Roh’s presidency and whether key issues will continue to drift.
First, Mr. Roh must demonstrate new leadership. He must show the Assembly that he tries to persuade lawmakers with his best efforts and patience. If he continues to label the opposition as anti-reform forces, he will not get cooperation from the Assembly, nor sympathy from the people. The Blue House has announced that Mr. Roh will devote himself to state affairs, economic issues and matters of the people’s welfare. It will be difficult for politicians to find fault with that. Planning a decision on whether to join the new party after the regular session of the Assembly would be opportunism. He must make his intentions clear now if he does not want to be snagged in another controversy.
The Millennium Democrats are not in a position to criticize the president ceaselessly. People are watching to see whether they intend to keep their vested interests by hiding behind former President Kim Dae-jung and taking Jeolla people hostage. The present situation stems from their attempt to dismantle Mr. Roh on the argument that his popularity has declined. If the Millennium Democrats accomplish political reform ahead of the new party and do well in next year’s election, they can justify their case.
The new party should not say the MDP should disappear, because the new entity is rooted in the MDP. The new party must accomplish political reform, which it touted as its primary cause. The president must devote himself to administration and leave politics to the political parties.