[EDITORIALS]Roh must listen to the public

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[EDITORIALS]Roh must listen to the public

The assessment by Koreans of the Roh Moo-hyun administration, which still has a year and five months to go, is dismal at best. Two out of every three Koreans said they believe that President Roh has done nothing good since taking office, according to a recent poll taken by JoongAng Ilbo.
We did not ask them to make an assessment of the president’s general performance. We asked them to list anything in which they believed President Roh did a good job. But two out of three respondents listed nothing. It is a harsh rebuke of the Roh administration’s past three years and seven months.
One may find several positive improvements during the days of President Roh, who tried so much to change the nation, even stripping himself of his authority as a nearly absolute ruler.
But despite all these efforts, why did the public give such a dire rating to his performance? Such a result was inevitable, since President Roh’s policies have focused on meeting the expectations of a small portion of the population.
The public’s waning support for the president and the ruling party was shown in the local elections on May 31, in which the ruling party was completely defeated. But despite that failure, nothing has changed since then. The administration has promoted figures who should have been held accountable for the election failure, and continued pushing forward policies that had faced enormous public opposition.
The administration’s decision to select those key government officials is also one of the public’s biggest sources of complaint, as the administration manages to promote figures it favors to the government’s top posts, regardless of the opposition. President Roh’s comment that the “results of an election or two do not necessarily show whether the country is going well or not,” indicates how much the president ignores the public’s opinion.
Now what Koreans want is clear. In the survey, 14 percent of the respondents cited unstable employment as the biggest problem the Roh administration has failed to solve, followed by 9 percent who cited real estate policies. Also, they cited a high unemployment rate and consumer price hikes as two of the most urgent problems to be tackled immediately.
The survey shows the public is imploring the president to focus on the economy, instead of ideological debates. We urge the president to listen to the public’s urging for the rest of his tenure.
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