[EDITORIALS]Run Korea, not a campaignIt is constantly rumored that some cabinet members and Blue House officials will be recruited as the new party’s candidates for the legislative election. The Our Open Party said, “We’re getting in touch with minister or vice-minister level officials who can run as our candidates in next year’s election.” President Roh Moo-hyun, in response to similar urgings from his Busan-area supporters, said, “I am considering various matters comprehensively. Please wait till early next year.”
There is no reason a cabinet minister or a presidential secretary should be prohibited from running for election. But if they leave in droves to follow the party, we have to ask whether these officials sought their government post so that they could boost their chances of winning an election rather than serve the government. How can we expect ministers distracted by a campaign to perform their duties properly, and how can we be assured that their work won’t consist of pork-barrel policies to draw more votes? There are even rumors that the party wants Kang Gum-sil, the justice minster who is in charge of the election fund investigations, as its candidate for a proportional representative’s seat, and have her tour around the country to help the party’s regional candidates. If that happens, it will appear that the investigation was merely an election ploy.
What has the administration achieved in the past nine months? The economy has lost growth potential and the government is forced to draw up a deficit budget. There are confrontations and conflicts over issues such as troops deployment to Iraq, a nuclear waste depot in Buan, a free-trade agreement and labor relations. If government officials neglect state affairs to run a campaign, we have to worry the country’ future. It should also be pointed out that some major national projects are left adrift because politicians are worried about voters’ reactions.
Mr. Roh pledged not to shuffle cabinet members during his term. If he sends them out en masse, he will be accused of using the cabinet as pawns in his election strategy. Government administration should not be sacrificed for an electoral victory.