[EDITORIALS]New party leaders debutA new leadership has launched at Our Open Party as its members chose Chun Jung-bae as new floor leader and Hong Jae-hyong as chief policymaker. Mr.Chun will probably become the most powerful party floor leader, as his party has 152 seats, a slim majority. He is also likely to be free from any Blue House hold over the party. The Roh Moo-hyun administration, if Mr. Roh is reinstated, has pledged to keep a healthy distance between the two. Naturally, we look on Mr. Chun with both expectations and concern.
Mr. Chun, while running for the post, stressed reform. Up until very recently, he had shown great interest in reforming the judiciary and the press as well as the controversial National Security Law. Drawing on his erstwhile pledges, the general prediction is that Our Open Party will push ahead with strong reforms in politics and social issues. That is what worries us.
Perhaps the consensus in the nation these days is that people want change and reform. But the vital question here is finding the reason for reforms and changes.
We must decide on what is the most pressing issue and what reforms and changes should be done for it. That issue is the economy. Surely Mr. Chun agrees. We expect that he will focus his energy on reviving the economy and providing a better quality of life for the public.
Hong Jae-hyong, the chief policymaker, bears just as heavy a burden on his shoulders.
We live in a rapidly changing environment. One day, it is a shock from China, and the next day it is high oil prices and a weak Korean won. Then the stock market plunges the following day.
Mr. Hong should concentrate on strengthening our weak financial structure and on creating a favorable environment for businesses to invest in. Those measures are vital for alleviating unemployment and the economic slump. He must forestall wrangling about the size of the government’s supplementary budget.
The public will be watching. One word, one gesture can determine or alter the country’s direction.
We hope the governing party will exercise a leadership that integrates and mediates, and cooperates with the opposition party so as to assure the public that their lives will be better soon.