[EDITORIALS]Critical Blue House reshuffleCritics are voicing concern that the Blue House secretariat is not able to carry out its full functions. It has been 10 days since the secretary for civic affairs handed in his resignation and has stopped coming to work. The Blue House has treated this as a vacation period for the secretary, in an effort to persuade him to return. Also, it is quite strange for the secretary to abruptly resign, and speculation is rife as to why he did so.
The position of the personal first secretary to the president has been vacant since the Yang Gil-seung scandal six months ago. The post of the adviser to the president on foreign policy has also been vacant since Ban Ki-moon became foreign minister one month ago. Some critics say it would be better to eliminate some of the positions because they have been vacant for so long.
A reshuffle of the Office of the President, which is set for tomorrow, will create vacancies in the posts of senior secretary for political affairs and secretary for policy planning. Blue House officials hint that these positions can remain vacant even after the April elections, which does not seem reasonable considering their importance.
When President Roh Moo-hyun took office last year, he said, “I won’t have any people coming into the Blue House if they plan to run in the elections.” He hasn’t kept that promise for long. Already many have left to run in the elections, and tomorrow the chief of staff will join those who have already resigned. Among 32 Blue House staff positions, seven have had tenures of less than four months.
The confusion in the Blue House affects the running of the country. Even though the Blue House says the president and his staff are doing their job, this is not credible. Incidents such as the failure to ratify the free trade agreement with Chile and the delay in passing the Iraq troop dispatch bill prompted by Our Open Party, Mr. Roh’s political ally, shows that the Blue House is not functioning well and should take responsibility.
If the Blue House had already looked into the matter of 65.3 billion won of funds amassed by Mr. Roh’s distant relative Min Gyeong-chan, the controversy would not have blown up so much. The Blue House must find its proper place in the upcoming reshuffle.