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[Editorial] President Roh and Ruling Party Step Out of Line

[Editorial] President Roh and Ruling Party Step Out of Line

Posted July. 30, 2005 03:06,   


President Roh seems to be excessively obsessed with his election system reorganization and coalition government idea. He even looks self-righteous and obstinate. Koreans feel uneasy and anxious to find their president, who needs objective and balanced views more than anyone else, is increasingly obsessed with an unreasonable idea.

President Roh said in a press conference yesterday, “My proposal aimed at overhauling the political landscape by eliminating regionalism will win support from the public at some point. National consensus will be built and no politician will be able to refuse it in the end,” adding “No politicians can be successful unless they listen to the proposal carefully and accept it.” His remark indicates that his level of self-reassurance is getting dangerously high. There are many Koreans who are unwilling to swallow the president’s arrogance, self-righteousness, and even intimidation.

If the election system needs to be revamped to get rid of regionalism, the ruling and opposition parties can work together to find common ground through a series of consultation and sell their ideas to the public. We have enough time before the 2008 general election. Why does the president trouble Koreans who are suffering enough from the sluggish economy and financial difficulty? The president repetitively explained what made him propose forming the coalition government in the press conference. After he explained his ideas of unconstitutional power change only to amend the election law, he faced strong opposition. In response to it, he said “I make my decisions as president not to satisfy politicians but to meet historical needs.” Many Koreans would feel depressed to hear what he said.

President Roh said “Koreans voted for me, not because they expected me to run the nation well in terms of economy or diplomacy but because they expected me to push ahead with reforms relentlessly to fight against cozy relations between business and politics, regionalism, fraud and corruption.” He added “Let’s discuss what I do worse than former presidents in terms of national affairs.”

We can’t believe our ears at this. Koreans didn’t give the president separate tasks of diplomacy, economy and reform when they voted him to the presidency. What he said sounded like he wanted to accept failure in economy and diplomacy or avoid the responsibility. I wonder if he really wants to discuss what he did bad in terms of national affairs with the record low support rate of 20 percent.

The Uri Party has gone even further. It has expressed its support for the president’s proposal nearly everyday, calling the coalition government as “soul-searching decision,” to which most media, including pro-president media sources, are opposed. It has even pressured lawmakers and party members who are opposed to the proposal to change their minds. No wonder every remark made by the president is now regarded as the order of an emperor who has more power than former dictatorship governments. This is where the participatory government stands, halfway through its term. They’re doing things which they wouldn’t do in their right mind.