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With Two More Years to Go, Is Roh a Lame Duck?

Posted June. 06, 2005 06:18,   


As the lawmakers of the Uri Party focus their criticism on President Roh and Cheong Wa Dae, some worry that he might have turned into a lame duck president.

A centrist representative of the party and member of the Lawmakers’ Group for Stable Reform, Jung Jang-sun, attacked Roh directly on the Buddhist TV Network, saying, “As policies are carried out based on the idealistic beliefs of the president, disparities between his ideals and reality are arising.”

Rep. Ahn Young-geun of the same group said on an SBS radio broadcast, “As several scandals such as oil-gate have broken out, the public is losing trust in the government, Cheong Wa Dae, and the ruling party altogether.”

In addition, some ruling party representatives such as Kang Bong-gyun and Hong jae-hyung criticized the general administration process in detail, including real estate policies, at a workshop of the party, government and Cheong Wa Dae. This criticism, along with the statements by lawmakers, triggered worries.

Many people call this situation the “three-year old administration syndrome,” which means that the initial tension is gone and corruption scandals start to be disclosed after three years of an administration’s term. The former administration of Kim experienced confusion in 2000, three years after its inauguration when several “gates” were revealed, and the oil-gate scandal involving the Korea National Railroad and Haengdam Island development project has brought about similar repercussions.

In 2000, the then-ruling party had been encouraged by the historic inter-Korean summit in June and the Nobel Peace Prize victory by then-President Kim in November. However, the favorable atmosphere did not lead to bigger public support, as corruption scandals involving prominent figures of the administration were exposed one after another since August, making the president a lame duck for his remaining tenure.

However, Uri Party Chairman Moon Hee-sang rebutted such doubts about the administration and President Roh, saying, “We reached an agreement on the party’s policy directions and will not be swayed by individual representatives’ remarks.”

Myoung-GunLee gun43@donga.com