[EDITORIALS]Back down, Mr. Roh

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[EDITORIALS]Back down, Mr. Roh

The veto by President Roh Moo-hyun of a bill to establish an independent counsel to investigate improprieties by his close aides is not a good decision. Grand National Party members have vowed to fight to the end, and the situation is headed for a collision.
The proposal is to investigate the president’s aides. Mr. Roh has now added to the suspicion that he may have something to hide. The president is going to be responsible for the political turmoil ahead.
There is no legal problem in a president’s veto of a bill passed by the National Assembly, and the Grand National Party is obviously looking for political advantage in the situation by refusing to consider an override vote and calling for the impeachment of the president. But when the president rejects a bill passed by more than a two-thirds majority of the Assembly, he does not have much political justification, and when Mr. Roh characterizes the bill as “tyranny by the majority party,” he is forgetting and downgrading the Millennium Democrats and United Liberals who voted for the bill.
Mr. Roh and Justice Minister Kang Gum-sil have argued that an investigation by the prosecution must not be suspended through legislation. But they need to ask themselves whether the prosecution has been able to accomplish very much in the months it has spent investigating allegations of wrongdoings by Mr. Roh’s aides.
If what we learned so far is all that the prosecution is going to find out, then the investigation should have ended already. How is the administration going to explain the raid at the Busan Chamber of Commerce only after the Assembly began working on the independent counsel bill? Mr. Roh’s pledge to create an independent counsel if the Assembly does not override the veto and let the prosecution complete its work is ludicrous. Is the public to believe that the administration would do something that could strip itself of legitimacy? What is of most concern in this affair is the lack of political leadership. The Blue House needs to give in just that much to give the Grand National Party the justification to take a step back as well.
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