[EDITORIALS]More inappropriate commentsPresident Roh Moo-hyun met with Our Open Party leaders Wednesday evening. At that meeting, Mr. Roh mentioned his intention to appoint Kim Hyuk-kyu, former governor of South Gyeongsang province, as the next prime minister. It is not appropriate that he made such a remark. Mr. Roh should not put the Constitutional Court in a difficult position. The court is about to announce its final verdict on the presidential impeachment. Mr. Roh is not behaving prudently, if he made the remark, as if the Constitutional Court has decided to reject the impeachment. It is not paying respect to a constitutional institution, either. Moreover, suspicion arises whether the president knew of the court’s decision in advance.
Participants might argue that it was a private talk at a private gathering. The president can meet people even when his rights are suspended. But it was at the official residence of his chief of staff. And participants were the leaders of the ruling party and the chief of staff of the Blue House. If only a few other officials were included, it could have been a high-level meeting between the party and the government. He should have avoided any behavior that can bring misunderstanding.
Another question is whether it was necessary to mention it at this time. The president can send the motion for the appointment after the 17th National Assembly opens. The first session of the new Assembly will open on June 5. It means that a whole month is left before the appointment is finalized. However, the ruling camp has leaked a theory that the next prime minister was decided. Adding fuel to the theory, the president expressed his intention for the appointment. All these lead us to suspect that there are other purposes for making such remarks. Some analyze that the remarks were made aiming at the by-elections scheduled on June 5.
It is embarrassing that President Roh is again criticized for making a political remark. His remark will also hurt relations with the opposition. Mr. Kim bolted from the Grand National Party right before the Assembly elections and resigned from the governorship.
It is hard to understand why Mr. Roh provoked the opposition with a remark that could be made a month later.