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[Editorial] Party, Government, and Presidential Office Hindering Innovations, Provoking Lame Duck Status

[Editorial] Party, Government, and Presidential Office Hindering Innovations, Provoking Lame Duck Status

Posted June. 11, 2005 06:31,   


When a president is reduced to lame duck status, state affairs and public welfare are the first to be hit hard. His dignity as the head of state is undermined, and he faces trouble even in diplomacy. A responsible governing power might work hard and come up with measures to prevent such things from occurring, but the situation now seems quite the opposite. The ruling party, the government, and the presidential office are going in different directions, attributing the whole situation to “each other’s fault.” At a time when they should have been united as one and competing to renovate state affairs, all the entities are instead competing to “debilitate them.”

First of all, we cannot help commenting on the attitude of Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan. The so-called “powerful prime minister,” who has enjoyed the president’s trust, Lee is the one with the most responsibility for the approval rates of President Roh and the ruling Uri Party dropping to 30-percent and 10-percent levels respectively. Whenever he goes to the National Assembly, however, he only aggravates the political deadlock by boasting that “there is no problem in dealing with state affairs,” or by provoking opposition lawmakers with un-prime ministerial sayings. He does not realize that his pot-calling-the-kettle-black attitude is interpreted as arrogance to the public, leading to a vicious cycle of nose-diving approval rates.

The leadership of the Uri Party is doing even worse. It seems that it is promoting lame duck status, rather than preventing it. A member of the party’s Standing Committee, who was elected in its national convention, says that the party is “a serious case on the verge of death,” as if this was not his own affair. Another member even suddenly resigned, lamenting that he rather feels like “burning down and rebuilding the whole structure of the party.” Some say unification with the Democratic Party is the only way out, while the so-called reformists refute that there should not be any unification. Again, other observers abruptly suggested the possibility of a political realignment centering on former Prime Minister Goh Kun. This is, in short, emblematic of utter disorder, but the leadership of the party chairman is nowhere to be found.

The presidential office does not seem to be reflecting on its shortsighted, simple-minded policies which have brought about enormous confusion in issues ranging from real estate to education. Nor does it seem to be innovating itself to avoid the same mistakes. Though the alleged abuse of authority and inappropriate conduct by presidential aides was the source of the entire problem, the presidential office is simply trying to read the president’s mind.

When witnessing the incompetence and the series of “going-in-different-directions” behavior of the ruling party, the government, and the presidential office as a whole, the public feels extremely frustrated. Based on introspection of their failures and their incompetence in state affairs, they should be working to achieve groundbreaking innovations. A premature acceleration of lame duck status is a misfortune for the entire nation.