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[Editorial] Roh Unveils Cabinet amid Expectations and Concern

[Editorial] Roh Unveils Cabinet amid Expectations and Concern

Posted February. 27, 2003 23:04,   


The Roh government is now with its face. It is said that a cabinet represents the nature and the goal a government pursues. In that regard, the new cabinet unveiled yesterday underscores the reform-minded Roh government.

Despite explicit disagreement from the law enforcement body, President Roh appointed 46-year-old female lawyer as the head of justice ministry. The new chief of the Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs is only 44 years old, an age considered of manager-level officials, and he is from a local government.

President Roh made unconventional moves in lining up new cabinet members. Of the 19 appointed, 18 members are in their 40s and 50s. 8 of them are from civic organizations or academic institutions. The cabinet is a breakaway from its predecessors, which have been male-dominated and based on experience and seniority, and is expected to become a driving force of the bureaucratic system long criticized as serving to the vested interest and remaining old fashioned. The reform-minded government will also be able to give fresh lifeline to the society.

Yet, the unconventional cabinet provokes concern about instability. Even if they are wrong practices and values, there is a great danger in dumping them all at once. It might undermine the foundation of the bureaucratic system. When government agencies are in disarray, the government will never be successful with its reforms. If its progressive nature is lopsided to ideals rather than reality, it could end up causing confusion on the national level.

President Roh has been emphasized that he would strike a balance within the government by having an experienced prime minister for a reformist president. It will be jumping to the conclusion if we define the `unconventional lineup` as `an inexperienced cabinet.` Still, the government must keep in mind that people feel that way. What is also troubling is that the appointment of education minister was delayed apparently after civic organizations vehemently opposed certain candidates. If the government is intent to stick to its goal of balance and stability, it must not be easily swayed by discontent groups.