[EDITORIALS]Lee must clarify plansPrime Minister Lee Hae Chan’s golf scandal is shaking the country. Every day new suspicions have been pouring out in newspapers and on televised news.
The scandal is the biggest issue for politicians. It has come to the point where Mr. Lee, who has not been clear on whether he would resign, suddenly canceled his participation in the 60th anniversary of the Federation of Korean Trade Unions yesterday. It is simply appalling that politicians are quarreling over sexual harassment and a golf scandal while people are struggling in their daily lives.
Beyond imagination is the betrayal the public feels from watching political parties concentrate on ways to make their position advantageous for the upcoming regional elections in May, while brushing aside any effort to get to the bottom of the scandal.
The prime minister’s unclear position on his future is too much of a burden on managing state affairs. The role of the prime minister in this administration is very powerful. President Roh Moo-hyun has entrusted much of his role to the prime minister in an effort to run a decentralized government. Mr. Lee is also closely tied personally to the president. That’s why he is the most influential prime minister in Korean history.
The prime minister has stopped his public activities after suffering a major blow to his morality. It is clear that national affairs will spin into chaos if Mr. Lee continues to delay his decision, as the opposition party is pushing forward with launching a National Assembly investigation, and conflict even within the governing party is growing.
The Blue House has said it is studying the truth regarding the suspicions that have been raised in relation to the golf scandal of March 1. It should find that truth as soon as possible, even if it has to take extreme measures. The problem, however, is who will trust the result of the Blue House investigation. This administration has already lost the public’s trust due to Mr. Lee’s misbehavior. Additionally, we cannot wait forever as state affairs drift aimlessly while the truth is being clarified.
Mr. Lee might feel this is unjust. But even with the information that has been verified so far, it is difficult for the prime minister to dodge responsibility. It is the general consensus that if the prime minister’s uncertainty has become an obstacle to running the country, he should voluntarily clarify his future course. This is because the position of prime minister is just too important to wait until all the truth is found, while his activities are limited.