[EDITORIALS]Roh’s inappropriate remarksIs President Roh Moo-hyun’s only concern the National Assembly election next year? Almost every day the president makes remarks related to the election, provocative enough to cause three opposition parties to jump up in surprise. At a rally of his supporters to mark the one year anniversary of his election, the president spoke of a “citizens’ revolution” and then on Tuesday he said, “The coming election will be a contest between the president and Our Open Party against the Grand National Party.”
This is an extremely inappropriate statement by the head of the government, who ought to manage the election in a fair and neutral manner.
When the opposition recently requested the formation of a “neutral cabinet to manage the election,” the president flatly refused, saying, “Who among the ministers is not neutral?” But all this is confusing because the president showed that he was not neutral. If the president is preparing for the election as if it is a life and death matter, who will be able to oversee a fair election? Also, how can the people trust the government’s neutrality?
The National Election Commission has said that the “President’s remarks are inappropriate,” but added, “It is hard to deem them illegal.” It only makes us wonder if the commission can supervise a neutral election.
The Blue House excused the statements as “well-wishing remarks during a farewell luncheon.” But such comments by the president as “To vote for the Millennium Democratic Party is to help the Grand National Party,” and “Once the election comes, the Grand National Party will meet the same fate as the Titanic” cannot be called well-wishing remarks. Is this all we can expect of the president?
The problem with Our Open Party is serious. It backed the president’s remarks, saying “It is old-fashioned politics to consider statements made lightly like an appetizer before a meal as having political connotations.” Whatever happened to its pledge to become “a ruling party that would seek distance from the president and criticize the government.”