[EDITORIALS]Roh shuns public’s willPresident Roh Moo-hyun is returning to the obstinacy and politics of conflict that he showed in his early days in office. They are revealed in recent personnel appointments. Mr. Roh appointed mainly Uri Party members who failed in the last elections to the cabinet and top management positions of public companies. He even suddenly dismissed a minister who has not shown any problems to appoint a particular person to the position. Doing so, Mr. Roh justified his action unreasonably by saying, “This is part of the process to achieve the aim of overcoming regional composition of Korean politics.”
Mr. Roh’s decision to keep Defense Minister Yoon Kwang-ung is a representative case. Following the shooting deaths of eight soldiers at a guard post near the North Korean border by a fellow soldier and instances of two breaches of the wire fence on the border, the public’s anger and criticism mounted. They support the dismissal of Mr. Yoon. Still, Mr. Roh has kept Mr. Yoon. As the Grand National Party presented a bill to dismiss Mr. Yoon, Mr. Roh said, “That is the Grand National Party’s move to take initiative in political affairs.”
We believe that the problem is caused because the president tried to gloss over the incident that required the defense minister to hold commanding as well as political responsibility. To call it a move to take political “initiative” is nothing but an attempt to confuse the focus by creating conflicts between the governing and opposition parties and liberals and conservatives.
Mr. Roh blamed the Constitution, saying, “Under the presidential system, there shouldn’t be a dismissal resolution of cabinet members.” He also complained, “Since the April 30 by-elections, the Grand National Party is leading the political scene of Korea, as the opposition grows bigger.”
Currently, however, the Uri Party holds 146 seats in the National Assembly, and the Grand National Party holds 125 seats. The Democratic Labor Party and the Millennium Democratic Party, furthermore, are considered to be closer to the Uri Party than the Grand National Party. When the political landscape is beneficial to the governing party, Mr. Roh’s claim that the governing party is faced with difficulty because the opposition is larger is not persuasive. Mr. Roh and the governing party should examine whether they lack political capabilities.
Mr. Roh and the Uri Party may reject the dismissal bill. But they will have to handle negative side effects.