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[Editorial] Mr. President, Forget About Acting Premier.

Posted August. 02, 2002 22:12,   


President Kim is expected to appoint an acting Premier this time again. For the background check, hearing and ratification, another one month will be passed. Pursuant to the Government Organization Act (Act), appointing a performing Premier deputy will clear out the problems from the absence of a premier and minimize malfunctioning. Nonetheless, Kim adheres to appointment of an acting premier, facing all the constitutionality problems. We don’t understand. The Grand National Party (GNP) responded positively to the appointment of a performing-Premier deputy. Thus he could minimize political hassling.

The reasons the Blue House proffers are flimsy to say the least. It argues that the rejection of Chang Sang Premier-select does not fit into the definition of “accident” as provided in the Act. Then, where could we find the grounds for an acting Prime Minister? Neither in the Constitution nor in the Act. Rather, the Constitution allows the performing deputy system in case of emergency as well as absence of a president. Applying this to the current situation, appointment of a performing-Premier deputy complies more with the Constitution.

This government itself left a precedent for a performing-Premier deputy. In May, 2000 right after then Premier Park Tae-jun’s resignation, Treasurer Lee Hun-jae performed the tasks of a Prime Minister for three days. The circumstances are the same now and then. Office of Prime Minister is not assumed. But why was it possible then and impossible now?

Under these circumstances, Kim’s adherence to acting Premiership may lead to a serious misunderstanding. It will also probably cause a destructive partisanship. The GNP already gets suspicious of Kim’s motive. It doubts that Kim tries to toss over the responsibility for Chang’s rejection to it by sticking to acting prime minister.

President Kim should appoint a performing-Premier deputy right now to prevent malfunctioning of the government, the most serious problem. And the politicians themselves should try to resolve this issue through legislation to minimize the confusion due to the gap between the reality and the law.