[EDITORIALS]End cabinet shuffle confusionThe planned cabinet reshuffle is in a confused state. It is not clear when and on what basis it will be done. Also, there is a controversy over whether Prime Minister Goh Kun, who has announced his intention to resign, should recommend new cabinet members. It is deplorable that the appointment of cabinet members who will lead the second phase of the Roh Moo-hyun administration is being delayed, while the economy and people’s livelihoods deteriorate.
The civil servants of the ministries whose ministers are certain to be included in the shuffle are disturbed. They cannot carry out major tasks without knowing the guidelines of the new minister, and the outgoing minister cannot transfer the responsibility to his successor by signing papers on major projects. Because of this, the operation of the ministries will be paralyzed. It is absurd to drag on a cabinet shuffle after knowing about all these problems.
The primary responsibility for the problem rests with President Roh. The reshuffle stems not from the need to replace cabinet members with whom serious faults were found, but rather to appoint some Our Open Party members like Chung Dong-young, Kim Keun-tae and Kim Hyuk-kyu to the cabinet. It is not clear whether Mr. Roh wants to appoint them to the cabinet to check them politically, or to promote them as the next presidential candidates. In any case, this is a shuffle that follows political logic and Mr. Goh might not feel comfortable about it.
It is understandable that he is hesitant to recommend cabinet members. Mr. Goh’s logic that it is in line with the constitution for a new prime minister to recommend cabinet members who will work with him is right.
But the reality is urgent. It will take more than a month for a new prime minister to be able to exercise the right to recommend cabinet members. When the economy is bad and various pending issues, including the deployment of the U.S. troops in Korea, are accumulating, if we waste time with a cabinet reshuffle, what will happen to state affairs? Mr. Roh must end the confusion over a cabinet reshuffle by taking an extraordinary measure. We also urge Mr. Goh to take the urgency of the situation into consideration.