It boils down to secrecy

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It boils down to secrecy

The ruling Saenuri Party stepped up its defensive campaign over the scandal involving former and incumbent presidential aides meddling in state affairs. The counterattack comes after President Park Geun-hye vehemently condemned the snowballing controversy, which she said was based on unverifiable rumors circulating during lunch meetings between senior members of the ruling party. Kim Moo-sung, head of the Saenuri Party, criticized the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy for trying to use the affair for political purposes. The party’s floor leader Lee Wan-koo also accused the opposition of “going overboard” for pressing charges against the 12 people implicated in the internal report.

The fiery statements from ruling party leaders over the scandal are due to concerns over interruptions in much-delayed state affairs and because of the need to push ahead with imperative public-sector reforms and measures to stimulate the economy. The scandal must not get in the way of reforms and undermine state governance.

The heart of the problem is the clandestine nature of the way the Blue House does business and its lack of communication. Since the president took office two years ago, she has been repeatedly criticized for her rigid, domineering and secretive style of governance that has led to appointment flops and miscommunication. Even presidential aides and ministers have a hard time meeting and speaking with her.

An internal probe by the Blue House into the activities of the secret club led by Chung Yoon-hoi, a former aide to the president while she was a lawmaker, and her three closest secretaries, suggests that people in the Blue House and government were suspicious of influence peddling by her confidants. A group of Saenuri lawmakers called on the president to change her governance style. Rep. Ha Tae-kyung noted that people who had previously served in the Blue House and cabinet were making contradicting statements, suggesting a grave lack of communication in the ruling party.

Park said Chung left her side a long time ago and defended the three secretaries, saying they have been loyal to her and their work. But the trio are a major part of the controversy. She should not have made personal comments while the prosecution’s investigation of them was underway. She does not understand that the biggest problem is the lack of transparency. The Blue House and ruling power must reexamine their governance style, starting with the dubious appointment system.

JoongAng Ilbo, Dec. 9, Page 34

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