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[Editorial] Did Cheong Wa Dae Lie about Local Elections?

[Editorial] Did Cheong Wa Dae Lie about Local Elections?

Posted July. 22, 2005 06:11,   


Again, President Roh Moo-hyun showed his intention to intervene in the elections. Moreover, the explanation by Cheong Wa Dae on this fact proved to be false. These actions by the two centers of national affairs are disappointing and regretful.

On July 20, Ohmy News revealed what the President said in a meeting with chief aides two weeks ago in an article titled: “President Roh gave directions to exploit policies and elections by saying, ‘Make use of the local elections.’” Regarding the article, Kim Man-soo, the spokesman for Cheong Wa Dae, denied most of the article, saying that what the president said had been distorted.

The explanation by the spokesman, however, was revealed to be false. According the president’s remarks in the presidential situation room, President Roh expressed his clear intention by saying, “Make it look as if Cheong Wa Dae has developed policies and the ruling party is pushing for them. The policies can be of good use in the local elections next year.”

It reminds me of the nightmare of last year when the opposition party sought to impeach President Roh. It was President Roh himself who first triggered the controversies over impeachment by saying that he would intervene in the general election. And the controversies led to a “political disaster” of suspending the president’s duties, the first action of its kind under a constitutional government. The following partisan bickering, furthermore, dramatically intensified the socio-economic shock and the crisis of the public. Though the Constitutional Court did not deprive President Roh of his presidency, it sent a strong warning message about his violation of the law. In short, President Roh was lucky to return to his position and win a majority of the National Assembly seats, but he caused irreversible damage to the office of the presidency before the public and history.

Is he going to repeat the same mistake? Based on what he said in the meeting, it appears that he is determined to bet everything he has on the coming local elections. Such suspicion seems to hold truth considering the remarks by the president that “the ruling party needs to raise issues strategically at the time of the elections”; “It would be a good idea to raise these issues as good election pledges”; and “Let the ruling party leaders participate when giving a report to the president.”

President Roh should return to the attitude he showed when he said, “The controversies over impeachment gave me a lot of lessons,” and restrain himself from being tempted to intervene in the elections and abide by the law. If he revives the economy and rectifies what is wrong with society, voters are destined to follow him. I also desperately ask Cheong Wa Dae, for its part, to be honest. Honesty is the best policy.