[EDITORIALS]Lame duck needs guidancePresident Roh Moo-hyun has only one year to go before his term ends. The national budget that will soon be approved by the National Assembly is President Roh’s last. The political spotlight has already switched to the next presidential election. As Koh Jae-bang, a former presidential secretary, pointed out yesterday, it has been more than a year since President Roh became a lame duck. It seems that only the president and his aides are unaware of his diminished status.
Former presidents have had the same conclusion to their terms; corruption by families and associates, lies and unethical plans to enrich themselves after their retirement. As a result, their approval ratings plummeted and they were abandoned by their parties. Although almost every president takes the same path, when a president is in power he does not seem to be able to see the warning signs in the economy, society or the political arena. But that is when a president needs to listen closely to the people with humility.
If the president wants to minimize the problems he will face as his term comes to a conclusion, he should handle personnel issues with special care. It is a bad idea to start things afresh.
These final months are not the moment to waste time by insisting on appointments of people who are favorites of the administration. It is fortunate that the governing party seems to have abandoned its insistence on Jeon Hyo-sook’s partisan nomination as chief justice of the Constitutional Court. It should now find a candidate who will appeal to a broad majority within the electorate.
When employing a foreign minister and a top government official for national security, the administration should reflect the opinions of the opposition parties. We hope that the administration will reconsider employing Lee Jae-joung as unification minister. At a recent hearing, he revealed we cannot trust him to protect the legitimacy of our country.
Although only one year is left before the term ends, a new cabinet must be created. Ministers from the political circle, including Prime Minister Han Myeong-sook, Minister of Commerce, Industry and Energy Chung Sye-kyun and Minister of Health and Welfare Rhyu Si-min, should be replaced with politically neutral experts. The most important part is the Blue House secretariat. As his term ends, a president tends to lose the ability to listen to other people. He cannot make the last period of his term a success if he only listens to former student activists or those people who are under their influence.