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President to Observe Weekend Holidays

Posted July. 02, 2005 03:39,   


“The president will take the lead in abiding by laws.”

With the implementation of the five-day workweek expanding to all government agencies starting July 1, President Roh Moo-hyun is planning not to make official schedules on weekends, starting this weekend.

Cheong Wa Dae said that it would advance the date for innovation discussions with ministers and vice ministers probably to Friday. Emphasizing that public officials should continue to study, it often convened discussions on Saturday.

However, there are reportedly no special programs yet for the two-day holiday each week. This means that it is not easy for the top manager of state affairs to draw a distinct line between work days and holidays.

It was reported that President Roh recently told his aides that he would focus more on self-development and study, meaning that he would concentrate on drawing up plans on state affairs management, spending much time reading a backlog of reports, and searching on the Internet as usual. He is planning to spend most of July 2 and 3, his first holiday after the introduction of the five-day work week, preparing for a meeting with chief editors and news chiefs of media outlets which is scheduled for July 7.

For sure, with the increased holidays, the president is expected to spend more time on leisure activities, such as hiking and golf, which he usually enjoys. Also, he is predicted to have more time with his family members, including the families of his son and daughter, who visit Cheong Wa Dae every weekend.

Most departments of the Presidential Secretariat will be off on weekends under the five-day workweek system. But by the nature of its responsibilities, the National Security Council (NSC) Bureau and State Affairs Office will be managed according to separate rules.

The NSC Bureau, for example, should take care of messages on foreign affairs constantly coming from missions across the world, although there are designated staff members on duty. Also, the office of crisis management center operates 24 hours a day.

The existing system, in which staff members who have work to do are in office even on weekend and all related staff members will immediately come to the office in an emergency situation, will remain unchanged regardless of the five-day workweek.

Jung-Hun Kim jnghn@donga.com