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[Editorial] Acting Premier Again?

Posted August. 09, 2002 22:17,   


The fact that President Kim Dae-jung named again an acting prime minister confuses us. It is a deep-rooted practice, but he should not have stuck to the acting premier system since it is unconstitutional. It seems to be his stubbornness that made him cling to the system while there are other ways available.

It is also unexpected for President Kim to name a young CEO as prime minister. For a 50-year-old action premier is as shocking as a female acting premier. We are concerned that a serious of stunning personnel management by President Kim might stem from the desperation of the President, who are facing crisis with his term closing to an end.

Of course, the young age of acting premier Chang cannot be a problem. But it is also true that the age of the prime minister should be considered especially in Korea`s conservative culture that values seniority since Chang is younger than anyone else in the incumbent cabinet.

Also Chang has not had any experience in running state affairs. Even if he is confirmed as new prime minister, his term will only last for six months, which is very short for him to learn his job and accumulate experiences.

Now that the official dorm has been unsettled due to the lame duck syndrome, the prime minister`s leadership over the cabinet is all the more important. Especially in the election year, when a variety of discords in the society are exploded, the prime minister`s ability to coordinate takes on special importance.

Also the prime minister needs to be equipped with the ability to persuade political parties especially at a time when President Kim broke away from the Millennium Democratic Party founded by himself, and when the Grand National Party secured the majority of parliamentary seats.

The confirmation hearing should verify the qualification of prime minister designate Chang. The hearing should not again be used as a means to wage political partisan wrangling. It is especially so in order for the confirmation hearing system to take root in the nation.

Political parties don`t have to be at odds over whether or not to confirm Chang. They should not calculate the loss and gain from Chang`s confirmation. They are required to decide whether to confirm Chang in accordance with his qualification and capability as new prime minister in the confirmation hearing.