Go to contents

[Editorial] The Things That President Kim Has to Do

Posted November. 09, 2001 09:54,   


After President Kim Dae Jung stepped down as the party president of the Millennium Democratic Party, we entered an unprecedented period of `political experiment` for one year. In the near future, we will experience many turns and curves in politics that we have not encountered before. The relationship between the President and the ruling and opposition parties, the administration and the National Assembly, the relationship between the ruling and opposition parties within the Assembly, and the shape of the next presidential elections will all undergo many changes. How these changes will be skillfully handled and political progress can be achieved are the questions confronting us.

President Kim has the responsibility to take the lead in tackling those questions. Whether he will become an even more of a lame duck president or a president who finishes up the term successfully completely depends on President Kim himself. After all, what is the reason for the disorder plaguing the present government? It is the misrule of the current administration. President Kim will have to do everything possible to prevent the government from wandering aimlessly anymore.

When we look, however, at President Kim`s resignations statement, it is regretful to see that there is little sense of responsibility for the government as a whole or the determination to reform it. President Kim announced that the reasons for his resignation were the loss in the by-elections, the expressed intent to resign by top senior members of the MDP, and finally to focus fully on the domestic and international tasks facing the country. In other words, the decisive reason for President Kim`s resignation is the inside party conflict around who should hold the most authority.

If this is President Kim`s inner thoughts, the state of the nation will only get worse in the future. This is because he fails to read correctly the public sentiment. The public is wholly focused on a complete reform of the entire government and not just on the internal affairs of the MDP.

Above everything else, President Kim has to reexamine his often repeated goals such as free democracy, market economy, and rule of law, and begin with a severe criticism over the misrule of the administration. He must seriously reflect on why phrases such as `imperial president`, `public accommodationism`, `state-owned economy`, and carry out reforms on this basis. People want reform in government personnel, education, medical care, agriculture, and a complete overhaul of foreign relations and other spheres of government authority that has been plagued by scandal.

If President Kim does not completely settle his relationship with the MDP and remain fixated on recreating the administration, he will only accelerate the process of becoming a lame duck president. Only through a comprehensive government reform can the president win the people`s confidence and leave as a successful president.