[EDITORIALS]Economy demands a presidentPresident Roh Moo-hyun’s choice of Millennium Democrat Kim Hyo-seuk as the new deputy prime minister of education was inappropriate in many ways. It was problematic in terms of procedures and political ethics. Also, it was even more regretful that the case took place amid Mr. Roh’s attempt to make wiser personnel appointments and focus on the economy.
Mr. Roh said, “The attempt to appoint Mr. Kim was a decision to choose a talented person. I considered the industrial aspect of education.”
We welcome Mr. Roh’s intent to choose people from a broader pool of talents rather than his own pool and to include the demand of business circles in education.
But we believe Mr. Roh should have first consulted the opposition Millennium Democratic Party if he wanted to hire a lawmaker who is the policy director of the party.
Mr. Roh said he would seek cooperation from the party after consulting Mr. Kim first, but that does not sound persuasive. The case is something that can determine the existence of the Millennium Democratic Party. Considering the current political landscape, if Mr. Kim joined the Roh administration, it would lead to the discussion on the merger of the Uri and Millennium Democratic parties, which would cause great political controversy.
The Millennium Democratic Party, furthermore, is faced with a convention in early February, and thus it has many things to take care of. It is not convincing for Mr. Roh to say “I offered the deputy prime minister position in good faith. I had some political considerations but they were only about promoting friendly relationships between the two parties.”
The Uri and Millennium Democratic parties, of course, may be somewhat close to each other since they originated from one party. But they separated, and each received its own votes during the 2004 legislative elections. Considering the voters and the Millennium Democratic Party’s current status, Mr. Roh’s attempt to appoint Mr. Kim was politically not right.
We are concerned that Mr. Roh again got more involved in politics rather than focusing on the economy. It is natural that a president has interests in politics. But this is not a right time for Mr. Roh to bet everything on politics. He should have the wisdom to avoid involvement in meaningless political struggles.