[EDITORIALS]Time for an apology, Mr. Roh

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[EDITORIALS]Time for an apology, Mr. Roh

We believe that President Roh Moo-hyun is responsible for setting up a breakthrough in the current political deadlock, in which lawmakers have submitted a motion to impeach him. We urge Mr. Roh courteously to apologize for his election law violation and promise to forswear such violations in the future. We urge that the opposition parties then reconsider their plans for an impeachment motion in order to wrap up this situation.
It was Mr. Roh who provided the cause. As he told his aides Monday, a president has a duty to defend constitutional order. The president himself failed to do his duty, and that was the cause of the impeachment motion.
The situation is not simple. Mr. Roh should not have said, “This violation was a minor offense,” or “It was an ambiguous and trivial violation” in order to gloss over the matter and dodge his responsibility.
Otherwise, who would respect the law? It is important when the National Election Commission, a constitutional body that manages the fairness of elections, has ruled that the president broke the nation’s law.
Among past U.S. presidents, Richard Nixon stepped down just before his impeachment. Bill Clinton’s impeachment was supported by the House of Representa-tives. In both cases, they faced the actions because of concealment and perjury. Although those could be minor offenses depending on the situation, in the United States, an impeachment motion was pushed forward because violations of a president, guardian of the law, could not be tolerated. The Blue House and Mr. Roh must learn a lesson from that.
The nation is already in turmoil. The prosecution said Mr. Roh’s election campaign camp received 11.3 billion won ($9.6 million) of illegal money. Allegations about Mr. Roh’s money for the presidential primaries is another hidden issue. Separately from the impeachment proceedings, the opposition parties are urging Mr. Roh to step down to honor his vow that he took no more than 10 percent of the amount of illegal money given to the opposition candidate.
The nation is in chaos. The president must resolve the problem by apologizing immediately and remaining politically neutral during the election. Then the parties can untie this knot.
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