[EDITORIALS]Accept the counsel billPresident Roh Moo-hyun said he would decide at a cabinet meeting today whether to accept the bill to name an independent counsel to investigate alleged corruption by his aides. We urge Mr. Roh to accept the bill in order to clarify suspicions surrounding his aides and normalize the nation’s governance. Otherwise, he will be unable to avoid the allegations, and he will face criticism that he triggered the governance crisis. We believe that Mr. Roh must accept the bill, not because he fears suspicion or criticism, but because he is concerned about the possible paralysis of our country. That should be the appropriate attitude of the nation’s leader.
No one can question the presidential right to veto a bill. And yet, the bill was approved by more than two thirds of the National Assembly. If Mr. Roh sends the bill back to the floor, many will wonder how the veto could be justified. Mr. Roh had previously pledged to establish a standing independent counsel. If he disagrees with a plan for a special probe of his aides, the president’s authority and credibility will be damaged.
Mr. Roh must think cool-headedly about what will happen to the issues this nation faces if he vetoes the bill. The economy shows no sign of recovery. Credit card debts have grown, disturbing the financial sector. Buan has fallen into an anarchical state amid protests by residents opposing a planned nuclear waste facility. The government also will have to deal with North Korea’s nuclear aspirations, a troop deployment to Iraq and the realignment of U.S. forces in Korea. These are all important and urgent issues.
We don’t have enough time and ability to resolve all of them, even with Mr. Roh’s and the political parties’ cooperation. And yet, the president and the opposition party are engaged in a political battle. The president must rethink if he really has the luxury of playing such a game.
How can the opposition party talk about launching a movement to make Mr. Roh resign, and how can the president shake the nation by pledging that he would not submit to threats? Mr. Roh must think of the people first.