[EDITORIALS]The wrong man for the jobPresident Roh Moo-hyun nominated lawmaker Rhyu Si-min as the minister of health and welfare yesterday. The decision was made despite strong opposition from the majority of Uri Party lawmakers. The Blue House even extended an invitation for dinner to the party’s top leaders to persuade them to agree with the decision. But then it announced the nomination one day ahead of the dinner. It seems that the Blue House has judged that the president need not persuade the lawmakers. Whatever the process, it has taken the form, at least outwardly, of the president completely ignoring the will of the party. We would like to know what the Blue House intended to happen.
Judging from this, it is even worse for the Uri Party than Mr. Rhyu was included in the Monday’s reshuffle list. The party has lost an amount of face proportionate to its opposition to the appointment. The issue will remain a source of conflict between the party and the Blue House for a long time. The faction that was most in opposition will apparently connect the appointment with the competition for party leadership and for the presidential candidacy. With the passage of time, the tension within the party will grow and the overall political situation become seriously unstable.
Speaking in terms of law, the right to appoint a cabinet minister belongs to the president. At the recommendation of the prime minister, the president appoints a cabinet member according to legal procedures. There is no way to prevent Mr. Rhyu’s appointment. When the president nominates someone, that is it.
Nevertheless, the presidential right for appointments is a political measure as well as a legal one. It is because of this that the president heeds the opinion of the governing party and considers the opposition’s ideas before appointing a cabinet minister. This is natural in view of the fact that a minister must establish policies through close cooperation with the ruling party and by getting the opposition’s help. This is the reason why the president should not, and cannot, appoint a cabinet minister at random, even though the appointment is a presidential right.
The Blue House considers Mr. Rhyu to be the right person to restructure the ailing National Pension system, but we don’t know for what reason. We wonder how Mr. Rhyu can get cooperation from both the governing and the opposition parties, and whether the pension problem can be sorted out without legal support from the National Assembly. It is the people who will be most harmed by an improper personnel appointment.