Get the cabinet in orderA cabinet meeting was held yesterday. It was the first cabinet meeting since the Lee Myung-bak administration was launched on Monday. But the new president did not preside at the meeting.
From the prime minister to the ministers, all the cabinet members were from the former Roh Moo-hyun administration. That is because in the National Assembly, the appointment of the prime minister has been delayed and hearings for the cabinet started only yesterday.
According to Constitutional Law, the minimum number of cabinet members is 15. Because three of 15 minister nominees have withdrawn from consideration, new candidates must be nominated and go through hearings in the National Assembly. Thus, it is uncertain when a cabinet meeting will be attended by new faces.
The first cabinet meeting of a new administration should be, and normally is, attended by the new president, the new prime minister and new cabinet members. The new team that shares the new administration’s philosophy should discuss a new direction for the country and breathe a new spirit into the country.
Five years ago, former President Roh Moo-hyun had a smooth start. On Feb. 26 of that year, the day after his inauguration, Goh Kun was appointed prime minister by the National Assembly. With the prime ministers’ recommendation, 19 ministers were appointed the next day. Former President Roh was able to hold his first cabinet meeting with a new atmosphere on March 4, 2003. The meeting was held in the form of a discussion for three hours, drawing people’s attention to the new format.
Ten years ago, former President Kim Dae-jung presided over his first cabinet meeting on March 3, 1998, one week after he took office.
President Lee, the Grand National Party and the United Democratic Party share the responsibility for the lack of a fresh and uplifting atmosphere in the first cabinet meeting. If they handled the restructuring of the government in a more mature way, the schedule could have been advanced. The United Democratic Party is still delaying the appointment of the prime minister.
Several nominated cabinet members had to withdraw from consideration.
We hope the hearings in the National Assembly for nominees for ministers will be completed as soon as possible, and the people will be able to see a meeting of the new cabinet presided over by the new president.