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[Editorial] President Walled Off by Special Aides

Posted March. 26, 2003 22:20,   


The Blue House announced that it would appoint more people as special secretaries, or special presidential advisors in US, for President Roh. The Blue House says it will be OK since they would not get paid any. Nonetheless, we cannot help worrying about it. The Blue House is getting "fatter and fatter" with more staff members and in-house organizations. In the process, the new members and organizations might smother out the existing structure. Moreover, President Roh has already given a Blue House title to one of his campaign strategies, or Lee Kang-chul. Then, he is reportedly planning to create one more job and give it away to Lee Kee-myung, who was the most avid donor during the presidential race.

The Blue House came up with a flimsy excuse for its "getting fat" drive. It alleges that, if guys without any official positions are doing this and that, people might get them wrong. That is why it decided to give them official titles. Who would buy it! Roh seemingly intends to operate the nation not based on system, but based on his people, people may think. Even worse, those new "title-holders" are longtime political friends of Roh. If the president`s buddies, armed with "titles," come to the Blue House, a symbol of power, without any hesitation and checking, people will conceive them as another inner circle of the power.

In this respect, contrary to the flimsy assertion, provision of titles is for empowering President`s henchmen, rather than for incorporating the secret line. Even for now, people are accusing Roh of resorting to the "outside" force in governance. He allows former members of the "late" Presidential Committee to participate in the cabinet meetings.

President Roh initially pronounced that he would give much leeway to each minister in conducting the administrative business. Now, with more henchmen having the privilege of being close to the president, it is doubtful whether the promise would be kept as promised. For example, when the Blue House has a labor special secretary and a culture secretary, it is natural that the corresponding ministers try to cater to the secretaries. Or, the ministers might treat the secretaries as their higher-ups. With them receiving no compensation, there is more room for them to fall prey to corruption and bribery. Critics say that Roh is stretching himself to pay back all the favors he received during last campaign. President Roh should know better. Special secretaries to the president are totally different from those to the candidate. The former are not the positions he could create to please his men.