[EDITORIALS]Roh’s manipulationWhile visiting Mokpo, South Jeolla province, two days ago, President Roh Moo-hyun answered a question about whether his term was almost over with the answer that that was not the case. He meant to say that he would not resign his presidency before his official term runs out. That happened only a day after he said in a serious tone during a cabinet meeting that he hoped he would not become the first president to not finish his official term.
If the president has given up on the idea of quitting his job at will, that’s good news. Nevertheless, the real intentions of the president remain a mystery. Even those people close to the president who have tried to decipher the president’s remarks are not of any great help. A close lawmaker interpreted the president’s remarks as a serious intention to step down and dismissed the idea that the president had uttered meaningless words. Nevertheless, the Blue House spokesman has dismissed the idea of Mr. Roh giving up his presidency before his term officially ends.
The leaders of the Uri Party have said that the president may drop his membership in the party, while lawmakers close to the president said that such speculations are way too premature. The president said yesterday that he would base his decision on giving up his party membership on whether it could help the party.
From the viewpoint of the people who have to wonder about the president’s remarks and worry about the future, this is outrageous. Stepping down as president before the term is officially over is a discontinuation of the Constitution, and is a critical event with grave repercussions. Before speaking out, one has to be careful and once one speaks, the words have to be clear and precise. If one spits out vague controversial words and later decides to interpret them at one’s convenience, it is nothing but a trick.
According to the Korea Society Opinion Institute, after Mr. Roh’s remarks, 74 percent of the people surveyed opposed the idea of the president stepping down prematurely, as they thought that he needs to be responsible until the end. If one thinks about the single-digit support that Mr. Roh is getting, one realizes the people are actually expressing their concern about the possible confusion Mr. Roh’s resignation would spark. If this was a move to gain another “impeachment effect,” it was to a certain degree a success. One has to ask for how long the president will manipulate people’s concern for his own good and how long people will have to keep worrying about the country’s affairs.