No more nepotism, please

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No more nepotism, please

The Democratic Party (DP) demanded a legislative probe on recruitments in the presidential office of people with private connections to President Yoon Suk-yeol. Rep. Woo Sang-ho, interim head of the emergency committee of the DP, said that as the People Power Party (PPP) had called for a legislative or independent probe on the forced repatriation of two North Korean fishermen, the DP wants to investigate suspicious recruitments in the presidential office through unofficial channels. Although the DP stretching the issue as recruitment cannot be on par with the controversy over the involvement of the National Security Council and National Intelligence Service in forcibly sending back the two North Korean defectors against their will, the governing power has brought about the shame of a series of questionable nepotism.

The controversy over recruitment has been made too often. The wife of a presidential secretary on personnel affairs accompanied President Yoon and the first lady on their visit to Spain for the NATO Summit. She later was found to have gone through a process of landing a regular job at the presidential office. A distant relative of Yoon and the sister of an ultra-right YouTuber also were hired by the presidential office. An acquaintance of the president also is working in the presidential office at the recommendation of Rep. Kwon Sung-dong, floor leader and acting head of the PPP. The presidential office explained that they have contributed to Yoon’s election campaign, but the question of nepotism lingers.

Yoon, who jumped into politics 10 months after serving in the prosecution for his entire career, would be lacking in the human pool compared to past presidents. He would inevitably have had to rely on recommendations from his acquaintances. Still, the chain of controversies cannot be normal. Even if at a low grade, a staffer related to the president personally should be avoided in the presidential office.

Yoon and the governing power should have checked themselves when criticism first arose. But they stayed defiant. Yoon claimed that the distant relative had been with his campaign team from the beginning. Rep. Kwon said the person was hired at the lowest ninth-grade rank, not seventh that he had expected. He even advocated for his service at the pay at around the minimum wage. Such comments are desirable for a governing power with fairness and common sense as their political slogan.

Yoon’s negative approval rating soared to 53 percent, up 4 percent from the previous week, overwhelming the positive rating of 32 percent. Appointment problems seem to be the biggest reason for his plunging rating. Appointment issue must not weaken the presidential leadership amid a perilous period on the economic and security fronts. The presidential office must re-examine its appointment process and remove the problem.
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