[EDITORIALS]Mr. Ahn Compounds His Misstep

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[EDITORIALS]Mr. Ahn Compounds His Misstep

The rough tides surrounding the inauguration of Ahn Dong-su as the new justice minister are not likely to dissipate soon.

At first, a dumbfounding document was the problem. But in dealing with it, Mr. Ahn claimed that he did not write it and has made nonsensical statements that brew suspicions about his morality.

What was written in the document is so amazing that we rubbed our eyes in disbelief. Phrases such as "the glory of my family clan" and "sacred kindness high as the mountains" that would be heard in kingdoms in the middle ages may be charming, but emphasizing twice, "I will sacrifice my life for the president" is too extreme even for a vow of loyalty. How should we view the fact that a minister in a democratic country does not pledge to work for the country and the people, but takes an oath that he will sacrifice his life for the president?

Especially, "I will make all efforts for the ruling party to win the presidential election," makes us gape. In a law-abiding country, the minister of justice is a symbol of principles and standards. Unlike other government agencies that simply carry out executive tasks, this post demands equity and impartiality. We would like to ask how the minister of justice plans to make all efforts for the ruling party to win the presidential election. It is already worrisome: how we can give a minister of justice who talks about electioneering the responsibility to administer regional and presidential elections? The political neutrality of the prosecutor's office, which he will control, is already in question.

There are analyses that it was all a mistake; Mr. Ahn has limited experience as a prosecutor (and that was 26 years ago); he is a politician with little experience as a high-ranking official in the executive branch. More important is the explanation he tried to give about who wrote the document. Trying to reverse the statement of a clerical employee by giving other explanations makes one suspect Mr. Ahn's qualification as a civil servant. A public official's lies are directly linked with his or her ethics. Why doesn't he understand that in all cases, only the truth minimizes negative repercussions and adverse effects?

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