[EDITORIALS]Not the right time for pardons

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[EDITORIALS]Not the right time for pardons

There are moves apparent among Uri Party lawmakers that suggest political and corporate figures who have been jailed for their role in presidential slush fund cases will be released before they finish their terms. The lawmakers contend that amnesty should be granted to commemorate President Roh Moo-hyun’s third year in office and to pursue national unity.
The Uri Party also set its goals for the next year to help the economy recover, bring national unity and secure peace. Some Uri lawmakers had also reportedly suggested the need for the amnesty.
It is desirable that the governing party set public unity as one of its major goals. Public opinion has never been divided as critically as it is now. It is clear that this is the moment to bring the public together.
But a blanket amnesty cannot be the answer. National unity and pardoning politicians are two different matters. Unity means bringing divided opinions and hearts together with harmonious minds that understand each other.
Now is the time to propose solutions to resolve conflicts among people with different ideologies and bridge generational and social status gaps. Giving freedom to those who are serving prison terms for engaging in political scandals and bribes will not help resolve social conflicts.
On the contrary, amnesty should be restrained for national unity’s sake. Until now, every administration granted more amnesties than it should have issued.
An amnesty should be given only after the public consents to the reason behind it. The president should not abuse his rights to grant pardons so that a few politicians can find their seats back in the National Assembly.
Most people who are being suggested for pardons are those who raised illegal funds during the presidential election for the governing party. If they get amnesty, it can cause even more controversies, which would only hinder national unity.
A plan for national unity should come first, and then the government can ask the public to agree on the pardons. Then such amnesties should be considered.
In a way, it is a relief that the Blue House is taking a cautious attitude toward the reports of possible pardons that are coming out of political circles. We hope that the Blue House is not merely waiting to see the public’s reaction to the proposed pardons.
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