Starting all over

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Starting all over

The People Power Party (PPP) seems to have come to its senses — finally. Rep. Kweon Seong-dong, floor leader and acting head of the governing party, expressed regret about his remarks on recruitment in the presidential office based on nepotism. Five days earlier, he nonchalantly brushed off criticism for his recommendation of an acquaintance to a post at the presidential office in Yongsan. Fortunately, he apologized, albeit belatedly.

Rep. Chang Je-won, a core member of a group of lawmakers close to President Yoon Suk-yeol, also expressed an intention for the PPP to give up the chairmanship of the Legislation and Judiciary Committee in the National Assembly. President Yoon joined the chorus by backing down on his surprising dismissal of his plunging approval ratings. In a recent poll, an increasing number of people disapprove of the way the president and the governing party behave.

President Yoon in particular must pay heed to the hostile public opinion given his weak power base compared to his predecessors. Actually, he won a razor-thin victory in the March 9 presidential election by 0.73 percentage points. Nevertheless, the president went on appointing his acquaintances — mostly prosecutors he met while serving as a prosecutor general — to ministerial positions in the government.

That’s not all. His signature interview with reporters at the doorstep of his office were full of unrefined rhetoric — mostly spontaneous and sometimes emotional. People’s fatigue over the way the first lady behaves also deepened. In the meantime, the PPP was engrossed in an internal battle to take the leadership of the embattled party even after its election victories, including the local elections on June 1.

The PPP and government should be alerted by an unprecedented economic and security crisis. Since only two months have passed since the start of the administration, they can turn it around. Even former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, the Great Communicator, faced hardships in the early stages of his administration due to an economic crisis and controversy over his wife repeatedly meeting with an astrologer at times of crisis. Bill Clinton also was repeatedly consoled by his aides for his blunders. They told him that Kennedy had made more mistakes.

Yoon and the PPP must have a cool sense of reality and demonstrate flexibility. Prescriptions are out there already. The president must use prudent language when he meets the press, listen to criticisms against him and restore cooperation with the Democratic Party. It is not normal that PPP lawmakers wonder what Yoon’s chief of staff and senior secretary for political affairs are really doing. We urge the president to start all over.
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