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[Editorial] 100 Days in Office: Better Late than Never to Start Anew

[Editorial] 100 Days in Office: Better Late than Never to Start Anew

Posted June. 01, 2003 22:35,   


Two days from now, it will become the 100th day of President Roh’s term in office. The Blue House self-evaluated its own past 100 days and marked the period as a transition from authoritative leadership to an equality-based one. For example, the Roh administration took enhanced authority and role of the Prime Minister and cabinet, reduced involvement of the Blue House staff in national operations, established cooperative politics between the ruling and opposition parties, and the accomplishment of just relationship with the press.

We are wondering, however, how many South Koreans would agree, or at least concede to the self-evaluation. It is one thing that a leadership sheds its legacies of authoritarianism. It is totally another that the leadership loses authority altogether. The Roh administration has taken a biased position in handling various social issues like labor disputes. By abandoning strict and fair application of the law, President Roh has weakened his authority himself. As a result, only confusion sprang up and national harmony was damaged.

Secondly, the reality contradicts the allegation of the Roh administration that the Prime Minister and the cabinet have assumed more authority in their roles. President Roh has alleged that the Prime Minister was downplayed in the press, since all media attention was attributed to President Roh. The facts, however, negate these allegations. We could find few cases where the Prime Minister took an active and central role in the administration. Whenever a problem occurred, President Roh himself took the role and ministers just tried to do whatever to please him, or quoting Roh`s favorite phrase, do whatever is comparable with Roh`s code. We feel out of sense, listening to allegations that the authority of the Blue House staff has decreased. The teachers` union`s dispute demonstrates the absurdity of the allegations.

The Roh administration, moreover, has completely ignored the opposition leadership. President Roh, for instance, appointed someone to a high-ranking position in the National Intelligence Service who both the ruling and opposition parties adamantly opposed. The Roh administration is notoriously "famous" for its favoritism of some media companies. Nonetheless, it absurdly alleges that it has established a just relationship with the whole press. Listening to allegations, we feel worried since the Roh administration seems still bogged down in its own unbalanced sense of "press justice."

The Roh administration should have learned some lessons from the mistakes of the past 100 days. It`s time to start anew, which in turn requires the administration to look back on itself first.