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[Editorial] President Roh Slaps the National Assembly in the Face

[Editorial] President Roh Slaps the National Assembly in the Face

Posted April. 24, 2003 22:11,   


President Roh announced yesterday that he would push ahead with his plan to appoint Goh Young-goo as the National Intelligence Service (NIS) director, even in the face of vehement opposition from both of ruling and opposition party members on the Congressional Intelligence Committee. The previous day, the committee members officially adopted a report in which Goh was evaluated unsuitable for the job. President Roh`s latest move is simply a slap in the face of the National Assembly. President Roh, upon receiving the report, popped out the decision. He failed to show any efforts to reach a compromise with the lawmakers or find another candidate for the job. No wonder South Koreans are accusing him of his mistreatment and lack of respect for the legislative body.

President`s disrespectful behavior expectedly brings about numerous side effects and devastating aftermath. First of all, the executive branch of government will not get any cooperation and support from its legislative counterpart. In fact, the administration has called for it. How could we expect the National Assembly to cooperate with the administration when the administration slaps it in the face? As a result, harmonious and cooperative politics will be missing for some time to come.

Second, South Koreans begin to doubt the existence of the non-binding congressional confirmation hearing, which just got started as an institution. Why in the world, some argue, should we have such hearing when the outcome is set forth to begin with? Uniquely around the globe, the confirmation hearing is not legally binding on the President in South Korea. Writing the Act in such way, the conceivers of the system expected the prudent respect of the President for the legislature would rein in the system. But that turned out to be a pipe dream.

Notwithstanding all these facts and reasons, some Millennium Democrats favoring President Roh are criticizing the committee`s action. We are dismayed and perplexed at their self-contradictory behavior. The committee observed all the procedural and substantive laws and rules in reaching the conclusion against Goh. In short, it was perfectly legal and lawful. Nonetheless, they are denying the report, which is like denying the system of democracy itself. Their own party members on the committee agreed to the adoption. But the liberal Democrats are criticizing and trying to overturn the conclusion. We feel the impression that the liberal pols are denying the party-based democracy itself.

Furthermore, the liberal members are accusing the Millennium Democrats on the committee of conservatism and insisting they be swiped out of the committee. What a shame! Each and every congressman represents the voice of the public, and our Constitution provides the authority. They are more of representatives of the public than just members of a political party. But the liberal Democrats, now gaining power upon President Roh`s taking office, seem ignorant of the fact. If that`s what they define as a reform, no South Koreans would stand by them and give support for their alleged reform.