[EDITORIALS]Clean house, Mr. Roh

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[EDITORIALS]Clean house, Mr. Roh

There appear to be calls for sweeping change to the Blue House. There were reports that the Presidential Commission on Policy Planning was about to advise exactly that to the president, but the Blue House has denied it. But even people in the ruling camp admit the necessity, and the Blue House should not deny it.
President Roh Moo-hyun has said himself that there can be no excuse for the allegations against his aide of 20 years, Choi Do-sul. And he has asked for a vote of confidence for that reason. There have been a number of allegations of improprieties surrounding his aides. If the administration tries to downplay them by saying they are minor, it is grossly mistaken. The administration must recall that it was in the early part of the Kim Dae-jung administration that it denied the seriousness of the improper lobbying of the wife of a top prosecutor; it went downhill from there. There was hope among the public that the Roh administration would avoid shameful improprieties, and it was when that hope was dashed that the administration’s approval rating began to plummet.
Mr. Roh said in his speech to the National Assembly that he would make a fresh start after the referendum by replacing some of his aides and cabinet members. We would ask why those changes have to wait for the vote. We would question whether the administration should wait for a vote that has been questioned on constitutional grounds. And a decisive move by the president to make a fresh start, by replacing some of his aides, would naturally make a referendum unnecessary.
It is difficult to understand how the administration justifies keeping problematic aides until the proposed vote. Such inaction will only damage the integrity of the government and the public interest. And changing personnel can only help Mr. Roh in the confidence vote. The Blue House must note that the new reform party has come out in support of the idea of a fresh start.
Mr. Roh’s duty rests in making the fresh start, with new people. That would be the way to improve morale in public service as we enter the debate before the referendum.
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