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Let the presidential election games begin

Posted April. 23, 2012 07:54,   


Gyeonggi Province Gov. Kim Moon-soo announced Sunday that he will seek the ruling Saenuri Party’s nomination for president. Reps. Chung Mong-joon and Lee Jae-oh are poised to soon declare their presidential bids in the party as well. Therefore, the party`s acting chief Park Geun-hye, the party`s leading contender for the December election, and other contenders have kick-started the race to become the party standard bearer. Attention is also on the moves of potential candidates of the main opposition Democratic Party and former IT guru Ahn Cheol-soo, who is now the dean of Seoul National University’s Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology.

After declaring his presidential bid, Gov. Kim said, “Our party cannot (win the presidential election) if we only bank on an ‘ambiguously prevailing trend (of Park’s leadership).’” This trend of Park’s perceived leadership is apparently spreading within the party following its victory in the April 11 general elections. Certain pro-Park lawmakers are urging “honorably appointing Park Geun-hye as the party’s candidate.” The so-called prevailing trend of her leadership, however, could fuel excessive internal vigilance over Park`s mental state and the party’s failure to seamlessly communicate with the fast evolving sentiment of the people. Even Pro-Park lawmaker Yoo Seung-min said, “Chairwoman Park isn`t listening to various voices in decision-making process. I feel some limitation when holding dialogue with Chairwoman Park.” If the party holds a fierce race among a number of candidates, it could help elevate a sense of internal tension that has been amplified following the party`s win in the general elections.

All presidential candidates must pass a qualifications review. A five-year presidential term significantly affects the nation and people. People should have a chance to closely examine and judge the qualifications, capacity and commitment of each and every presidential candidate. Avoiding the qualification review is no different than hiding the specifications and performance of a product to its consumers. Voter selection of presidential candidates should be done on the basis of objective information.

Ahn Cheol-soo, who is first or second in approval ratings among potential presidential candidates, said “Private life should not be subject for review in selecting a leader,” in conveying his feeling after watching the 2000 movie “The Contender.” Yet Korea`s next head of state cannot exempt his or her private life from the qualification review. If the president loses public trust because problems arise over his or her private life after the election win, he or she cannot display strong leadership.

Ahn conducted "politics of lectures" by displaying his political influence through speeches even in the last general elections. If he delays the timing for his qualification review using the excuse of his school`s academic semester, he could easily earn the label of “cheater.” He could start his presidential campaign after the end of this semester, but must at least clarify whether he will run. If he avoids this, it constitutes dodging the review of his quality and capacity as presidential candidate. Ahn has never been reviewed and verified as a politician. He enjoyed success in computer security software and has gained publicity due to his warm heart and character. Yet putting himself under political review is a wholly different matter.