Suspicious recruitmentPresidential spokesman Park Soo-hyun has handed in his resignation to run in the June local elections for the gubernatorial post in South Chungcheong province. It is the first time under President Moon Jae-in that a senior Blue House official is resigning to run in an election. Under the law, a public official hoping to run in local elections must resign by March 15. Park, who has been the mouthpiece for Moon during his first eight months in office, is resigning well ahead to register as potential candidate for the mayoral and gubernatorial elections by the Feb. 13 deadline.
Park will be among the shortest-serving spokespersons in the last three administrations. He has made the list without any significant blunders.
He is legally eligible to run for an elected public post. Yet his case is controversial because he did not hide his election ambitions after he was appointed to the Blue House. He visits his constituency almost every weekend, and has become a regular name in local media.
A presidential spokesman is the communication channel between the president and people. That title and role must not be used as a premium for an election. The Blue House plans to name Park’s successor by early next month. It must hasten the process because it is not fair for Park to come under the press spotlight before running for election. The Blue House must reconsider its recruitment of politicians for roles in government to allow them to run for elections, because their presidential ties can serve as a means of credential building for election-aspirants. It could lose more than it gains when considering the importance of consistency in public office.
JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 23, Page 30