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Prime Minister Expresses Deep Satisfaction with New Appointment

Prime Minister Expresses Deep Satisfaction with New Appointment

Posted June. 30, 2005 06:27,   


It has been one year since Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan took office last June 30. Lee has been considered as a “prime minister with real power” who is responsible for daily government affairs in the current system of decentralization of authority. However, he once was the target of malicious gossip due to his direct remarks.

At a press conference held in the central government complex at Sejongno, Seoul to commemorate the first anniversary of his inauguration, Lee said that looking back on the early days of the inauguration, his pledge to be a working prime minister seems to have turned out fine.

Showing great confidence in his performance in managing government affairs, Lee also said that more than a thousand meetings were held for a transparent decision-making process.

Q: There has been a saying that no particular achievements for ordinary people were made by the prime minister.

A: There have been two major achievements made for the livelihood of ordinary people. First, social order has been stabilized. As the relationship between labor and management has been smooth these days, assemblies are no longer fractious as before. Second, the economy has been in a good shape. The living conditions of ordinary people have been continually improving, though they are still far from being luxurious. However, the increasing number of unemployed caused by the financial crisis has undermined domestic demand, which is probably why many ordinary people are thinking that the economy is still in a difficult situation.

Q: The land price in local provinces is on the rise. So are taxes and private education expenses.

A: It is natural that the construction of the administrative capital would lead to an increase in land prices. But, it is only the ask price that has increased, and there have been few actual trades. The earnings of ordinary people have not decreased at all. However, the gap between higher income people and lower income people has widened a little.

Q: There has been a criticism that the appointment of the justice and environment ministers was political.

A: The appointment was an excellent decision. It is possible, however, that new Environment Minister Lee Jae-yong might intend to run for the president. But whether he will actually run for the election or not is not clear until it happens.

Q: There has been a saying that you might run as an opposition presidential candidate.

A: I have no interest in the presidency. I’m just doing my best in my job now.

Hyung-June Park lovesong@donga.com