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President Roh Appears to Push Forward His Belief-reflected Appointments

President Roh Appears to Push Forward His Belief-reflected Appointments

Posted June. 29, 2005 06:01,   


President Roh Moo-hyun appointed former head of Daegu Nam District Office Lee Jae-yong, who ran in the electoral district of Daegu in the general election held in April 15 last year but was defeated, as Minister of Environment as prearranged on June 28.

Regarding this appointment, controversy is increasing since not only opposition parties but also civic groups are denouncing it sharply, citing that it is a typical example of “gratitude-style personnel management” and “consideration for defeated figures in elections” following the recent series of appointments, including that former lawmaker Lee Cheol was tentatively named as head of Korail.

Furthermore on the same day, concerning a dismissal motion for Minister of National Defense Yoon Kwang-ung submitted by the opposition parties, President Roh denounced, “That might be put to a bad use as a political offensive,” and made it clear that he would not depose Minister Yoon from his post, saying, “If a new defense minister is nominated, it is difficult to assure where the direction of national defense reform will be headed.”

The fact that despite the criticism by some groups including the opposition parties, President Roh is pushing ahead “this appointment reflecting his belief” is being interpreted as his will of getting over the current situation of opposition parties controlling the National Assembly by directly appealing to the public opinion.

Prior to this, in a letter he sent to members of the ruling Uri Party through the Internet on June 27, President Roh said, “Appointing some figures who is from Gyeongsang Province and outside of the National Assembly to some of the posts is a process of putting into practice our earnest goal of overcoming the current regional factionalism of the seats of the National Assembly.”

Senior Secretary to the President for Personnel Affairs Kim Wan-gi admitted that this appointment was carried out in the consideration of politics as well on June 28, saying, “Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province need to be specially considered in the pursuit of turning the Uri Party into a party consisting of members from areas nationwide.”

The number of figures who lost the 17th general election last year and the 6/5 local re-and by-elections and subsequently were named to the posts in Cheong Wa Dae, the government, and the government affiliates is 29. Among them, 23 figures (79 percent) come from Gyeongsang Province.

In response, Grand National Party spokeswoman Chun Yu-ok denounced in her comment, “President Roh is rationalizing by showing that it is possible to appoint some figures to posts piece by piece with a view to liquidating the regional factionalism,” adding, “The fact that President Roh dickers with appointments for governmental officials in a bid to achieve his goal shows how poor his awareness is”

Lee Jae-myeong, director of the transparent society team of People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, noted, “I cast doubt on whether the proposed figures were named to the posts based on ‘political careers,’ rather than job competence.”

Regarding this appointment, environmental groups, including the Korean Federation for Environmental Movement and the Green Korea United criticized, “It is not proper to take care of the defeated figures in a bid to consider some areas based on political assignment.”

In the meantime, on that day, President Roh appointed Uri Party lawmaker Chun Jung-bae as Minister of Justice along with the new minister of Environment.

Jung-Hun Kim Yeon-Wook Jung jnghn@donga.com jyw11@donga.com