[EDITORIALS]Roh’s disappointing new startThe quality of President Roh Moo-hyun’s political leadership in the two weeks since his powers were restored is disappointing. He tried to reshuffle his cabinet according to expediency, ignoring the spirit of the consitution. Consequently, the prime minister resigned prematurely. The cabinet is currently headed by an acting prime minister. We wonder when normal government operation can be restored. Three ministers who have been declared sacked, and are thus incapacitated, will remain in their seats for a month; it is questionable whether they can do their jobs properly.
In addition, a new controversy is arising over a new prime minister. Even from the ruling Our Open Party, voices against Kim Hyuk-kyu are being heard. Moon Hee-sang, asked by Mr. Roh to play the role of communications channel between the Blue House and the party, is said to have told the party, “The appointment of Mr. Kim will test the ability of the party leadership.” It looks like he made such a remark in a bid to put pressure on the party. The Grand National Party has bad feelings about Mr. Kim because he bolted from the party. The Democratic Labor Party announced that it opposed Mr. Kim’s appointment. Under such circumstances, it is not clear that the motion can pass the Assembly. If emotionally charged confrontation breaks out in the course of hearings or the passage of the motion, the economy and people’s livelihood will be held hostage to politics.
Mr. Roh’s twisted new start is not entirely his fault. Considering the peculiarity of the political community, it is natural that we would hear a variety of opinions, and the fact that the June 5 by-elections are around the corner makes things more difficult. The abolition of the position of senior presidential secretary for political affairs has damaged the process of holding prior consultations with the legislature.
Mr. Roh should reflect sincerely on whether his arbitrary decision-making and obstinacy have worsened the situation. Former Prime Minister Goh Kun resigned because the Blue House interpreted his role differently from how the constitution did. Mr. Roh must understand the spirit of the constitution that requires the president to secure the endorsement of the prime minister before appointing cabinet members.