A preposterous strategy

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A preposterous strategy

President Park Geun-hye plans to appoint Moon Hyung-pyo as minister of health and welfare and Kim Jin-tae as prosecutor-general today. The president decided to press ahead with their appointments as the National Assembly hasn’t adopted a report on confirmation of the appointments before the deadline. The decision falls under the jurisdiction of the president.

However, the presidential decision will likely aggravate the strained relationships between the ruling Saenuri Party and the opposition Democratic Party. The DP says it will cooperate on the appointment of Hwang Chan-hyon as chairman of the Board of Audit and Inspection on the condition that Moon steps down from his nomination for health and welfare minister. As the president pushes ahead with Moon’s appointment, however, the opposition has refused to approve Hwang’s appointment as head of the government audit agency and reinforced its offensive against the ruling party. The DP has even warned of a “third appointment disaster” unless the president backs down on appointments of Moon and Kim.

But there’s no relation between the minister of health and welfare and chairman of the Board of Audit and Inspection. The posts are totally separate. What really matters is whether both nominees are qualified for the jobs in terms of their expertise in the field and competency. There’s no room for political bargaining. Appointments of high-ranking government officials should be based on the qualifications of nominees, not on politicking. The DP’s naive belief - that it would help strengthen their power when they thwart one or two of the president’s choices for top positions - clearly shows that they are only bent on pursuing political fights rather than taking care of the people who elected them.

Despite the DP’s efforts to find fault with the way Moon has been using a corporate credit card, no tangible evidence of wrongdoing has been found. The party’s attempt to link his appointment with Hwang’s is simply not rational. It would be a critical mistake if the opposition believes such a bargain will deal a heavy blow to the president and the ruling party. It will damage their integrity.

We understand the DP’s irritation and frustration from its inability to find a breakthrough in attacking the government for the National Intelligence Service’s alleged meddling in last year’s presidential campaign. But the party’s reckless strategy of linking totally separate issues will only deepen the current political stalemate. What kind of political gains can the DP reap from it?
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