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President Roh Set to Share Responsibilities with Prime Minister

President Roh Set to Share Responsibilities with Prime Minister

Posted August. 10, 2004 21:48,   


President Roh Moo-hyun said on August 10, “The prime minister will oversee the overall operations of the government while I concentrate more on national strategy and major reform agendas.”

“As the prime minister did not actually oversee overall government administration in the past, the position has become ceremonial or a figurehead,” he said at a Cabinet meeting at the presidential residence. “However, it will be more effective if the prime minister presides over the routine business of the government.”

“Under this direction, Cabinet meetings will center on the prime minister,” said President Roh. “Each ministry should send its reports to the presidential office as well as the prime minister’s office. Reports and directives of routine government office should be run accordingly.”

President Roh said he would concentrate on the following after the division of labor with the prime minister: Reform agendas including innovations in the government; long-term national strategies (balanced development strategy, a strategy for the era of Northeast Asia; measures for an aging society, and a long-term energy policy); and an anti-corruption crusade including the formation of an anti-corruption committee.

“Under the past imperial presidency, the president controlled even the political party. Even today, there is still misunderstanding of the president as someone who can solve anything with sacrosanct authority,” said President Roh while explaining the backdrop of his role sharing with the prime minister. “I need to start to solve this problem by redefining the role of the president.”

“President Roh’s role sharing with the prime minister does not imply the increased responsibility of the prime minister or the government administration in which the president is responsible exclusively for diplomacy and national security and the prime minister for domestic issues,” said presidential spokesman Kim Jong-min. “He wants a government administrative system which is advanced and efficient enough to stand the changes of time.”

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com