Don’t interfere in campaignPresident Roh Moo-hyun interferes too deeply in the presidential campaign. Technically he made presidential hopefuls from the ruling circle give up their run for the presidency. They are Goh Kun, the former prime minister, and Chung Un-chan, the former chancellor of Seoul National University. The other day, President Roh evaluated each presidential hopeful on the Web site of the Blue House. Even though he did not mention names, anyone can gather who he is talking about.
Whether popular or not, an incumbent president has enormous power. If he uses his position, he can make sure a certain person loses. That’s why the president’s intervention in election campaigns has been prohibited, and that tradition has been respected even during authoritarian regimes.
People say that as soon as President Roh says something about a given presidential hopeful, then that person will certainly fail. Goh Kun was the first case. In late February, the president said in an interview with an Internet news outlet that he hoped the next president would know about politics. After that, Chung gave up. On the evening when the former university chancellor announced his decision not to run, Roh said that the atmosphere was so good that he could hardly stop smiling. That seems to indicate that everything was going along as he wished.
The president posted another message on the Blue House Web site on Wednesday and it was even more obvious. Except for Lee Hae-chan and Han Myeong-sook, who are in the Roh camp, the president blamed every presidential aspirant. He wrote that some still sing a song about merging political forces even though they were the ones who ruined their party. That’s obviously referring to Kim Geun-tae and Chung Dong-young. The president also indicated that a hopeful bolted from his party just because the chances were slim for him to win the party primary. That seems to be about Sohn Hak-kyu, the former governor of Gyeonggi province.
The other day Roh blamed Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye for handling the revision of private school law in connection with other matters, and for delaying the procedures. The president also said that the two presidential hopefuls are trying to benefit from his own unpopularity.
The president used to be on the verge of impeachment because he made remarks that interfered in elections.
He must be aware that his last task in office is to handle the presidential election in a fair manner.