Transition flawsThe presidential transition team has completed the first phase of its work, 15 days after its launch. The team was briefed by key government ministries and offices and worked quickly, not even pausing to rest on weekends and holidays, as if wanting to emulate the reputation of President-elect Lee Myung-bak for working very hard. But the team may have been too motivated, speaking out of turn at times. It must be sorry for the times it went too far and be prepared to take a step back.
As stated in the law, the team’s duty is to prepare for the handover of power. It looks into the government’s structure, functions and budget and begins to draw up new policies. But the team has no right to reprimand workers of the previous government, as the spokesman of the transition team did after a briefing by the Education Ministry. Only lawmakers or auditors can issue such reprimands. The transition team is not the National Assembly and its briefings are not state inspections.
The team has even forced civil servants in many ministries to change their policies. It is fine for the transition team to take a critical view of the incumbent government’s policies. But it is humiliating and offensive to force ministries to change existing policies even before the incumbent administration’s term is over. The civil servants have been simply carrying out the instructions of the president. If policies are to be changed, the new administration must replace the officials in charge.
There was also confusion. An advisor to the team mentioned his idea of sending an envoy to North Korea and having a North Korean government official attend Lee’s inauguration. But earlier, Lee had told his team not to broadcast individual opinions.
Some members spoke up as advocates for other issues, such as restructuring the administration. In addition, the eventual destiny of the Ministry of Unification seems to change depending on who from the transition team was speaking. Shortly after its launch, the team also said it would lower telecommunication fees. But telecommunication companies make such decisions. They said the new administration would give autonomy to universities, but will it now tie down telecom companies with regulations?
As the transition team made such mistakes, even the Grand National Party chairman said the team is not an enforcement agency. People can predict how the new administration will function by looking at the transition team. The group must calm down and prepare for the next step.