A tool to polish up careersThe ruling Democratic Party (DP) is too preoccupied with the April 15 parliamentary election to mind state affairs. As many as 70 candidates for a seat in the National Assembly have come from the Blue House. As a result, even the DP is grumbling about excess.
The Presidential Committee for Balanced National Development has turned into a de facto campaign camp. In October, the committee increased the number of so-called special civilian members to 347 from 11. The body is designed to draw up policies to balance out developments in the capital area and elsewhere. The committee said it increased the number of special members to strengthen communication with regional experts.
Although the purpose is for “communication,” there is no single name from the opposition front. Handing out titles in a presidential committee can only be suspected to have a political purpose. Since the members hardly do anything, their titles can only be serving to polish up the credentials for ruling party lawmakers and candidates. In fact, 20 names on the special member list have been registered to run in the upcoming legislative election.
The Blue House seems to be determined to take over the legislature. The presidential office has fielded confidants of President Moon Jae-in to command control over the ruling party. But voters are not that naïve.
Song Jae-ho, chair of the committee who stretched the head count of the organization, has stepped down on Jan. 21 to run for the election. He has passed the deadline which requires public officials to step down from their office if they are bidding for a national election, but the National Election Commission nevertheless accepted him as an exceptional case. He has been among the top policymakers on Moon Jae-in’s campaign team. The expansion of the Presidential Committee for Balanced National Development ahead of the election underscores the influence by the president. The committee also gave the title of “special advisor” to Song Cheol-ho before he ran for the Ulsan mayoral election in 2018. The committee also was raided by the prosecution for its implication in the case of Blue House meddling in the Ulsan election. Is such a committee worth our taxes?
JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 29, Page 30