[EDITORIALS]‘Old thinking’ lives onKim Hyuk-kyu, legislator-elect of Our Open Party, has said that “You can expect a huge present [from the president] if Our Open Party candidates win the offices for Busan mayor and South Gyeongsang province governor.” The opposition Grand National Party has immediately fired back, charging him with illegal electioneering. More disconcerting is Mr. Kim’s obsolete way of thinking, because he is strongly rumored to be the next prime minister.
Sources say that the “present” mentioned by Mr. Kim refers to building a track for international auto racing and a highway linking Hamyang and Ulsan. Mr. Kim identified as the possible “present” a massive lineup of South Gyeongsang natives in major government posts.
We must be living in a country where a government project that should represent balanced national development instead is tossed in return for a win in by-elections. Turning the logic around, it becomes a threat that the government will not extend the “presents” to the province if Our Open Party legislators should lose. The mention of distributing major government posts is irresponsible. From now on, the public will view government appointments with suspicion.
Mr. Kim earned one of the party’s proportional representation seats in last month’s elections. It is because of his bolt from the Grand Natonal Party and resignation from the governorship that the by-election for the governor of South Gyeongsang province is being held. Given that his political migration has caused huge government manpower and budget to go into the election, it is not right that he made such comments. Viewed another way, he is evoking voters’ regional sentiments. That departs in a major way from Our Open Party’s platform of surmounting decades-old regionalism and creating a party with a national power base, for which it won a majority in the recent legislative elections.
Also, we wonder whether Mr. Kim’s remarks are purely personal. Recent strides of the Blue House and the government party seem to show an all-out effort in the upcoming by-elections. If Mr. Kim made the remarks, based on a certain understanding with the ruling camp, the administration should repent. If it is Mr. Kim’s personal view only, he should be held accountable.