Keep your post, Mr. Governor

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Keep your post, Mr. Governor

South Gyeongsang Governor Kim Doo-kwan is expected to announce his candidacy for the December presidential election sooner or later. But his alleged decision to resign from his current post as governor to enter the nomination race of the main opposition Democratic United Party raises controversy among party leaders and other presidential contenders.

Governor Kim should run for president while maintaining his governorship. Our election law stipulates that heads of local governments keep their incumbent posts when they enter an intra-party race for president on the grounds that they will hardly try to take advantage of their incumbent posts and a by-election will cost a large amount of money if they resign from their current posts. Because the law mandates candidates to step down from their incumbent posts until 90 days before the election, the DUP can fix its primary schedule based on the regulation.

A commitment to serve out an official term is as important as political ambition. But Korean politics have suffered much as a result of politicians’ frequent violation of their terms. Former Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon lost his mayoral seat after betting it on results of a referendum on free school lunch programs, not to mention it resulted in a costly by-election. It is never too late for Kim to resign from his post after winning the nomination in the party primary.

Our society must correct the bad practice of local government heads habitually resigning from incumbent posts to run for higher office. The JoongAng Ilbo asserted in an April editorial that Gyeonggi Governor Kim Moon-soo should keep his post if he runs for president. Eventually, he decided to maintain his governorship when announcing his candidacy for the nomination race in the ruling Saenuri Party. Kim Doo-kwan must follow his steps.

Kim’s decision to resign reflects his political judgment. He seems to believe that his decision to resign could demonstrate unflinching determination. If Kim regarded his governorship as a sacred duty entrusted by voters, he would not attempt to exploit it for political purposes.

Elected office holders must serve out their terms. Quitting their job after working for only two years - and with much of their campaign promises not kept - is a dereliction of duty. If a governor wins a presidential bid, people will understand their decision to step down from their current post so that they can envision a bigger picture for the country.

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