[EDITORIALS]Expediency and governanceConfusion over new cabinet appointments has led to the resignation of the prime minister, Goh Kun.
We must ask what the Blue House did wrong for things to come to this. What it has done so far is pitiful. First, it went against the formal procedures by asking the soon-departing prime minister to endorse new cabinet nominations. That also goes against the spirit of the constitution. Article 87 says, cabinet ministers “shall be appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister.” Article 86 stipulates, “The prime minister shall assist the president and shall direct the executive ministries under order of the president.” This issue has been debated enough, and the bottom line is that for an outgoing prime minister to endorse a new cabinet is expediency.
Of course, if the situation demanded efficient governance, Mr. Goh may well have endorsed the new cabinet. His predecessors have done so. But if the prime minister, in the last days in his office, wants to play by principle, that is his prerogative. It is and was undesirable for the Blue House to repeatedly ask him to exercise his authority. More disturbing was seeing the Blue House chief of staff, Kim Woo-sik, appealing to Mr. Goh to change his mind, which led to his resignation.
Only a few days ago, the Constitutional Court stressed that President Roh should adhere to the nation’s constitution. For the Blue House to attempt to skirt the constitution so soon after the court’s ruling makes one wonder if the staff is out of its collective senses. The senior secretary for personnel affairs’ casual remark in regard to public and government-affiliated institution heads, that those who have “done their time should wrap it up,” reflects the Blue House premptory attitude.
Three candidates for the cabinet have been named. They are all Our Open Party members. They are to be appointed because, as strong bidders for the country’s next president, the three figures need government experience and should be prevented from preparing for campaign preparations prematurely. Is the cabinet a training ground for presidential candidates? Is the Blue House going to work on the economy or on the next election? The Blue House should name a new prime minister first. Return to the constitution and principle; part with expediency.
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