Give the PM real powerThe prime minister was nowhere to be seen amid civilian dissatisfaction. It is because the prime minister, who has been endowed by the Constitution with the power to control all government ministries, has not played his role properly. As the entire cabinet has resigned and a new cabinet is being discussed, we sincerely hope for a prime minister who will carry out his role properly in the future.
The prime minister exists for honorable reasons. If the prime minister had acted appropriately, the crisis we are facing today may not have happened. The prime minister should consider the people’s demands, review, select and formulate them into policies since he is the one responsible for the government’s administration. At the same time, if there are faults in the policies, he should act as a bumper and absorb the criticism instead of the president. For the president, the prime minister functions as a protective barrier.
According to democratic principles, the prime minister divides power and checks the president’s absolute power. If the judicial and legislative bodies check the president’s power horizontally, the prime minister is a vertical check within the administration. The prime minister should help the president make rational decisions as well as putting a brak eon unreasonable ones.
In our political history, no prime minister has played his role appropriately. In real politics, only prime ministers who bowed to presidential power were appointed. Korea has had its share of prime ministers who read out congratulatory remarks in the president’s place and protocol prime ministers who simply oversaw social functions.
President Lee Myung-bak has proposed that the prime minister play the role of “the one responsible for natural resources diplomacy.” Prime ministers are already adept at hiding in the president’s shadow and the president defining the prime minister’s scope of activities. This practice prevents the prime minister from his duty.
We are at a juncture. We desperately need a responsible prime minister who should have the president’s trust and delegated power. Even if the president is an early bird, the prime minister cannot be a superman. The prime minister should alleviate the president’s work burden and be an assistant, someone who contributes to government stability.
Unless real power is delegated to the prime minister, reshuffling the cabinet is meaningless and a waste of time.