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[Editorial] New Prime Minister’s Top Priority: Make a Government in Its Fullest Sense.

[Editorial] New Prime Minister’s Top Priority: Make a Government in Its Fullest Sense.

Posted June. 29, 2004 22:17,   


Lee Hai-chan will take office as prime minister today. He should shoulder a comprehensive responsibility for the Cabinet at a time when the country faces challenges at home and abroad. Most of all, it is urgent for him to address the national crisis sparked by the abduction and killing of Kim Sun-il and put government administration back on track again.

The people are furious because the death of Kim cast light on the inability and irresponsibility of the government. Urgent tasks are mountainous: the troop dispatch to Iraq, reductions in the USFK, North Korean nuclear ambitions and labor unrest. Prime Minister Lee should prioritize currently stalled policies in terms of their seriousness, urgency, and speed to forestall inefficiency and waste in government administration.

Although his appointment easily won the approval of the National Assembly, some people are worrying that his commitment to reform will turn into self-righteousness. Prime Minister Lee should address these fears. Then he should run the Cabinet in such a way that quietly serves the people, instead of brandishing grandiose slogan for reforms. In this way, he will earn public trust.

It is a basic thing for a politician-turned-Prime Minister to exercise the politics of harmony and reconciliation to prevent shaky relations between the government and the ruling party, the government and the opposition party, and the Presidential Office and the Cabinet. This is for him to compensate for Presidents Roh’s divisive leadership even after the political feud over his impeachment.

At a National Assembly hearing, Prime Minister Lee set himself apart from the intents of the President and made statements on his own, including one that that the legislature and judiciary institutions do not have to move to a new capital. The best assistance is “no means no.” About the Cabinet reshuffle, scheduled for today, he should disclose his own opinion and alternative about the timing of the reshuffle and the expertise and capabilities of the candidates. This way, this government will become a government in a genuine sense.