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[Editorial] Too Easy Pledges of Candidates

Posted December. 13, 2002 22:58,   


A responsible politics becomes possible only when what political leaders say is trustworthy. The basis of the responsible politics lies in the determination of a leader to keep his/her words at all costs. If that is not possible at all, he or she should take all responsibilities for the failure. Looking and listening to what the presidential candidates promise and do, however, we feel everything`s too easy with them. In other words, we realize that those expectations could come true with these candidates. They overturn what they have promised just a day before. It feels awkward to use the word "pledge."

Let`s take Lee Hui-chang, the presidential candidate of Grand National Party, for example. Early this year, he stressed several times that it was not appropriate to revise the Constitution. Now, however, he finally turned himself around and began to argue for amending the Constitution, even at the cost of shortening the length of presidency.

In addition, he promised, in a campaign-related publication, that he would support autonomy and autonomous financial management of a university. But, in a recent interview, he said he would freeze the tuition. It`s contradicting. He also lacks consistency as to the social welfare system and the household system.

It is worse for Roh Moo-hyun, who has cut a deal with Chong Mong-jun of People`s Unity 21 at the very last minute. There is nothing unique or original about Roh. Regarding the agreement between Roh and Chong, even the insiders of both parties say that Roh has unconditionally accepted what Chong had demanded. Expressing more accurately, Roh has just pasted himself in the color Chong has proposed. Actually, it was heralded long, long time ago, when Roh agreed with Chong to share the power when he got elected.

In the past, even in the face of piling scandals about Kim Dae Jung administration`s secret aids to North, Roh insisted on keeping the Sunshine policy of Kim Dae Jung administration. Now, however, we do not even know where he stands. Moreover, he had advocated the need for strong regulations on Korean conglomerates, or Chaebols. Now? He has watered down his insistence to a point where we doubt the "integrity" of his pledges: What Roh promises has really come out of his mind? He has also toned down his advocacy for heavier taxation on inheritance.

During several days left until Election Day, we don`t know how many pledges will be manipulated and transformed. If the candidates can change their promises even during campaigning, how could we expect them to honor their words when elected? It`s dangerous and risky to leave this country in the hands of a person for the next 5 years to come.