[EDITORIALS]Pick new ministers well

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[EDITORIALS]Pick new ministers well

After Yoon Jin-shik, former Minister of Commerce, Industry and Energy, resigned, Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Yoon Deok-hong also handed in his resignation yesterday. Now that the ministers are handing in resignations one by one, they might as well go all the way and reshuffle the entire cabinet.
It is better to get it over with all at once so that the state of affairs can be stabilized. At Tuesday’s press conference, President Roh Moo-hyun was right to say that he did not want to shake up his cabinet in order to achieve a breakthrough in the political situation. It only lessens the efficiency of an administration to have a minister sacrificed for political reasons. Getting rid of a person, without regards to competency, just for the sake of change amounts to a mere show.
However, if the cabinet is to be changed, why do only a partial shake-up now and then do a full one after the legislative elections in April? If a minister is viewed as incompetent, then there is no reason to wait until next year’s elections to get rid of him.
Moreover, announcing a plans to overhaul the cabinet four months ahead will only paralyze the work of the public officials. Also, the government shouldn’t be reshuffling for the sake of having popular ministers run for office in next year’s elections. Even if much is at stake in the legislative elections, political maneuvering must not take priority over governing the country.
In selecting ministers for his new cabinet, President Roh’s promise to respect the evaluation of the people rather than relying on his own judgment and to judge the candidates on the basis of one’s work is worth lauding. Appointments should not be based on having the same principles and values as the president’s, but someone who will work.
A country cannot function properly if a minister does not understand market principles and has ideological leanings to indulge in partisanship. In choosing new ministers, the government must look for those who have mediation skills to solve complicated, and often conflicting, issues, and those who have professional backgrounds.
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