Minister posts not a ‘right’

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Minister posts not a ‘right’

During a meeting of senior Grand National Party members yesterday, Floor Leader Ahn Sang-soo asked President Lee Myung-bak to employ three or four party members as ministers.

He explained that doing so would reflect the people’s opinions and improve communications between the ruling party and the administration.

It is understandable why Ahn made the recommendation. Since the incumbent administration took office, its poor performance has constantly been criticized. The ruling party and the administration have often clashed, and the separation between the two has become serious.

The government’s major policies are stagnating in the face of the opposition party’s resistance.

We agree that these problems must be corrected.

But is the communications breakdown between the ruling party and the administration tied to the fact that GNP members are not employed as ministers? Has the GNP fulfilled its duties faithfully as the ruling party?

Ahn’s explanation can be easily misunderstood as a brazen attempt to secure some major posts for his party’s members.

He reportedly told journalists that GNP members are now extremely angry. The Grand Nationals, he said, are complaining that even though they have sacrificed so much for the current administration, they are overlooked for the minister posts in favor of some professors or new members whenever the cabinet is reshuffled.

A political party’s primary goal is to create an administration, and one cannot criticize its members for expecting rewards. However, doling out the minister posts among members as trophies is breaking the party’s promise with the people to govern the country in a moral, ethical and commendable fashion.

Particularly, complaints by GNP members that they are being treated unfairly shows the current poor state of our politics. The administration’s earlier cabinet was mockingly dubbed as the “well-off” cabinet - and still the ruling party members have not learned their lesson.

Of course, this does not mean that employing politicians as ministers is wrong or bad. Capable politicians should certainly be given the positions. It can be very efficient to have a politician in a post that requires smooth communication with the National Assembly. Nonetheless, politicians should not set a target number of ministerial posts and then demand them. Cabinet members must be employed based on their capabilities. Only then will the administration become successful, and only then can the GNP expect to win the next election.
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