[EDITORIALS]What are Roh’s intentions?

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[EDITORIALS]What are Roh’s intentions?

President Roh Moo-hyun has proposed a “political negotiation meeting” of sorts with the Grand National Party. It is a welcome thing that the president ― who has more or less entered his “lame duck” phase ― should invite members of the governing and opposition parties to express their opinions and offer to consider them when making policy decisions. Unfortunately, there are more than a few reasons to doubt that this proposal was made because sincere concerns about the danger of an administrative vacuum.
First and foremost, when calling for the meeting, the president offered the “Jeon Hyo-sook” card at the negotiation table. The pre-sident’s shortsightedness and procedural error in the nomination of Ms. Jeon as the new head of the Constitutional Court has already brought irrevocable damage. To offer Ms. Jeon’s nomination as a negotiating card will in effect seal her resignation. It is also something the Blue House could not have done if it had any sort of consideration for Ms. Jeon, for whom an ignominious exit is already unavoidable.
Moreover, the very issues that the Blue House feels are bogged down, such as the revision of the judiciary system, the national defense system and next year’s budget, are all questions that can be dealt with only after the new Constitutional Court head is confirmed. The details of these issues should be dealt with in frequent meetings between floor leaders and working-level members, not in a political negotiation headed by the president.
Lee Byung-wan, the Blue House chief of staff, proposed that the possibility of a neutral coalition cabinet be discussed at the meeting. Yet it was only last week that the Blue House appointed a former gubernatorial candidate who recently lost an election as the new minister of government administration and home affairs.
The Blue House making such a politically charged appointment and then offering to discuss a coalition cabinet only three days later makes one wonder about its true intentions. According to Mr. Lee’s explanations about the proposed meeting, it is not as if the nominations of Lee Jae-joung and Song Min-soon as unification minister and foreign minister are negotiable.
It is now time for President Roh to take his hands off politicking. Even his own party is keeping him at a distance. The president should not be too greedy and play politics with the governing and opposition parties when there are so many administrative duties that he is neglecting.
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