Transition politics

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Transition politics

President-elect Lee Myung-bak has revealed his transition team. Lee Kyung-sook, the president of Sookmyung Women’s University, chairs the committee, while many politicians, academics and government officials were also appointed to chair its subordinate committees.
Chairwoman Lee, the transition team head, has been criticized by some for her past career as a lawmaker inside the ruling party of Chun Doo Hwan’s authoritarian government. Some also point out that other appointees seem to have been selected mainly because they have a personal relationship with Lee Myung-bak.
Nevertheless, they were chosen because of their expertise. Considering that they have a duty to search the president-elect’s heart and pick his brain to find the blueprint for the new administration, their past career may not cause a big problem.
But there are a few things that the transition team has to bear in mind. They must remember that the two months given to the committee to complete its work will determine the success or the failure of the next five years of the new administration. They have no time to spare, and they must be prepared to tackle the complexities of national affairs, unless they want to waste this important moment in starting a new government.
The new government should know what its priorities are in pushing policy goals. Former presidents have listed their first hundred or two hundred policy goals for an incoming government, but few of the goals were fully realized. The five years that a president has is not a long time. He need a strategic mind to select and concentrate on achievable goals.
The policies that Lee set out as a candidate should also be reviewed. The presidential campaign was full of negative attacks and there was little chance to review or debate the merits of various policies. Just because he was elected, it does not mean that everyone agrees with Lee’s many pledges. The transition committee should be able to present the public with a vision of the new government and its hopes for economic recovery.
There are things to be cautious about as well. Because the administration represents a change from the current liberals to conservatives who have been in opposition, we expect conflict between the old and the new. Furthermore, Roh Moo-hyun seems determined to do things his way even when his term is almost over.
The new administration should be wise enough to avoid dramatic conflicts. Lee’s government should also know how to control in-house wrangling. People are fighting to have the game in their hands when the new administration begins. Conflicts are also expected between aides to the president-elect and new transition team members. Whether Lee Myung-bak can fulfill his promise to be the “president who works” will be determined largely through the achievements of his transition team.
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