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[Editorial] Government Reform, Is This the Answer?

Posted September. 08, 2001 08:28,   


With the decision to keep Prime Minister Lee Han-Dong in office and to make Cheong Wa Dae Chief Secretary Han Kwang-Ok the representative for the Democratic Party, we cannot help but point out that there is a serious problem in President Kim Dae Jung`s sense of reality. Prime Minister Lee Han-Dong – DP representative Han Kwong-Ok constitutes nothing more than reshuffling one part of the cabinet and does not even have a hint of government reform. The prospects of the new minority ruling party-majority opposition party government could begin a political showdown rather than cooperative politics.

When the DJP alliance ended after Unification Minister Lim Dong-Won`s dismissal, people were probably hoping that President Kim would finally accept the implications of being in the minority position and seek cooperation with the opposition party in order to work to stabilize the people`s lives. One can say that this expectation stood on the person whom President Kim (who resolved the discomfort around an allied ruling party) appointed to carry out government reform and build the basis for cooperative politics between the ruling-opposition parties.

In our judgment, however, we have to say that this expectation was broken. The administration explains that the Grand National Party and the United Liberal Democrats will oppose PM Lee`s dismissal and make it difficult for the new Prime Minster to gain the approval of the Assembly. On Chief Secretary Han`s appointment, it says that he was appointed as the DP representative because he was not planning to run for the Presidential elections. These excuses are hard to believe. We want to ask whether the administration has its priorities straight in this current crisis, or whether they are employing a `mistaken and manipulative politics` that disregards the people`s needs.

Having received the cabinet recommendation, Prime Minister Lee will have to carefully reflect on the showering criticisms about the political morays of his most recent conduct. It is hard to discern the image of reform in a cabinet whose changes entail a superficial shuffling of its membership. Yesterday, the ULD decided to expel Prime Minister Lee who was the party president. This is the first time in our political party history that a party president has been expelled for the charge of dissolving the party. It is questionable how he will hold together the cabinet as Prime Minister and lead the government.

A portion of the Democratic Party members is vigorously objecting to Cheong Wa Dae Chief Secretary Han`s appointment as the DP representative. Three members even threatened to withdraw from the party. The objectors are criticizing, with good reason, the nepotism that completely contradicts the movement to eliminate personal favoritism. The GNP is also turning away in protest. If things continue down this road, the government with a minority ruling party-majority opposition party set up will never function properly.

Prime Minister Lee`s stay in power ended up destroying all effects of cabinet reform and Chief Secretary Han`s appointment as DP rep has reversed the flow of party reform. How will the administration lead the country when it has turned its back on public opinion and sentiment, completely disregarded justice and morals, and is pursuing a `mistaken and manipulative politics?`