Timing is everything

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Timing is everything

Blue House spokesman Lee Dong-kwan said yesterday that the presidential office was listening to the demands for reform and was in the midst of deliberations. This differs a great deal from the attitude just one day before, when he said there would be no consideration of a Cabinet reshuffle.

It is a relief to know the Blue House has finally realized how serious the current situation is and that it seems to be taking a more open-minded approach. We hope this will lead it to take actions that are satisfactory to the public.

One Blue House adviser says, “I am aware that the president is mulling over personnel changes.” Another specifically complains of the difficulties of human resources reform, saying it is hard to find good people to fill important positions. However, it seems the Blue House is actually thinking hard and looking for ways to change. A president whose term in office is five years should be the most effective in the second and third years.

President Lee Myung-bak’s meeting with seven major religious leaders on June 4 and his efforts to listen to their opinions appear to be part of the search for a solution. In actuality, the answer is not out of reach. And the proposals they made are at the core of the solution. Comments they made to the effect that more efforts for communication are needed and that the administration’s approach should be more relaxed are points the people would like to make and advice the government needs right now.

This kind of communication should not end with religious leaders. The administration should have frequent meetings not only with its own party but also with politicians from opposition parties and figures from various fields to hear their opinions. The more open-minded they can be, the better. The administration in power easily gets locked behind the curtain created by a few close aides the moment it starts to become lazy in its efforts.

President Lee’s position - that it is unwise to conduct a Cabinet reshuffle just to overcome a difficult situation - is correct. But it would also be wrong to delay a necessary reshuffle in order to keep existing officials, with the false justification that the administration cannot take responsibility for the former president’s suicide.

There is such a thing as good timing for a Cabinet reshuffle. We should think rationally about whether the ruling party, the Lee administration and the Blue House have satisfied the public, whether they have been fair since coming into power, and whether senior government officials have truly been appointed based solely on their capabilities. Leaving things as they are with the excuse that there is no alternative is nothing if not irresponsible.
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