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[Editorial] Kim Dae Jung Administration`s Tasks in the Remaining One And a Half Years

[Editorial] Kim Dae Jung Administration`s Tasks in the Remaining One And a Half Years

Posted August. 28, 2001 08:24,   


According to a recent survey taken by this newspaper, public opinion on the Kim Dae Jung administration after three and a half years in office generally falls into two categories. On the one hand, 63.7 percent of the people are dissatisfied with how President Kim has run the country, and on the other hand, a large portion of the people are worried that the strife between different factions in society will intensify.

On the reform policy, which is directly connected to the dissatisfaction over the administration`s operation, 65.2 percent of the respondents expressed that the method of implementation was wrong even though the basic intention was right. 68 percent view negatively policies with aims such as `expanding the basis for the welfare and protection of middle and lower income class interests` and `educational reform and creating a merit-based society`. The fact that they do so on issues that are intimately tied to their daily lives demonstrates that the administration is actually losing the people`s confidence in the process of implementing policies intended to benefit middle and low income level people. In other words, the administration`s reforms are inconsistent and lack societal approval. A clear example of this is the conglomerate reforms that broke down and led to a premature separation of pharmacy and clinic, creating much confusion in society.

The more fundamental problem is the fact that, over three and a half years, the administration failed to make any progress in political reforms which can be said to be the central generator for all other reforms. It is only right that 66.5 percent answered `no` to the survey question, `Did the administration promote the establishment of a parliamentary democracy through dialogue and cooperation?`

The administration cannot escape the criticism that, as a minority power, it did not pursue a course of dialogue and accommodation to the majority opposition but dealt with them in a self-righteous way. The most painful result of the survey on the three and a half years of the administration`s performance must be the fact that 63.4 percent of the respondents answered `no` to whether the administration `united the country and resolved regional discord and antagonism`. In fact, the majority of the respondents were worried that the politically motivated news press reform created more division in national opinion and that the discord and confrontational atmosphere in society will only get worse.

This recent survey shows what the administration must focus its energies on in the remaining one and a half years. The most important thing is to concentrate on restoring the people`s confidence and reducing as much as possible the discord and antagonism in society. Many respondents expressed the view that President Kim will be judged as successful rather than unsuccessful after he steps down. The administration should understand that this indicates the people`s last wager on this administration.