Rising tensions alreadyA tense current of air is circulating between the offices of the president-elect and the Grand National Party. Since the elections, a sense of unease has developed over the establishment of a transition committee within the party, while government officials and executives of public companies are busy contacting key aides of the president-elect. Conflicts over the leadership for the general elections next April are also thought to be imminent. Recent developments suggest that the first few steps a new government takes can easily go wrong. There are numerous people who have contacted the president-elected, all looking for a small or large office in the new administration. Since Lee Myung-bak has topped the opinion polls for more than a year and the Grand National Party has been the opposition party for over a decade, the situation is ripe for power jockeys thirsty for power to rush to join Lee.
Previous governments have had to suffer for a long time because they could not shake free of being associated with the president-elect. Five years ago when the Roh Moo-hyun administration started, Roh’s aides were said to be bombarded with money during the pre-inauguration period. The 60-day period leading up to the inauguration of the new president will determine the future of the next five years in office.
The argument for separating the party from the presidential cabinet was put forward by National Assemblyman Park Hee-tae. He was the election strategist for Lee’s presidential campaign and senior counsel of the party for the presidential election. So, it’s likely that his comments reflect what Lee is thinking. The GNP was quick to criticize the arguments put forward by the president-elect, saying he was trying to drop recommendations for candidates for the general elections. A lack of coordination between the ruling party and the government is pathetic, and we should work to prevent having an imperial-styl e president. We don’t want to revert to the old days when the ruling party was a voting machine for the president.
If the president-elect means to monopolize the entire power structure, conflicts are inevitable, which means coordination is urgently required. Unless the aides of the president-elect and the Grand National Party take extra care in how they behave and what they say, the support that they have garnered from the general public can quickly disappear.
President-elect Lee Myung-bak should rein in the situation fast.