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[Editorial] Unconstitutional Family Involvement System of Government Officials

[Editorial] Unconstitutional Family Involvement System of Government Officials

Posted September. 29, 2005 03:05,   


Cheong Wa Dae announced a plan to expand the subjects of verification, when appointing administrators and high-ranking officials (rank three and higher), to include not only the candidate himself but also his spouse and immediate relatives and also to submit a related bill to the National Assembly in late October. The candidate’s parents, spouse, and children will be included among the subjects of verification in order to be stricter in the procedure. The object is to appoint a person who is ethically flawless, but nevertheless this is a legislative move that is both legally and realistically unreasonable.

Cheong Wa Dae did not reveal exactly “what” about the spouse and immediate relatives of the candidate they will look at, but the measure is clearly unconstitutional. Article 13 Clause 3 of the Constitution prohibits the involvement system, stating, “All citizens should not be subject to disadvantages due to acts that are committed not by themselves but by relatives.” The current National Civil Servant Law limits the reason for disqualification to just the candidate himself. It is strange that the president is so stubbornly willing to make a law that overrides all this.

Once the new law is enacted, the spouses or parents of the candidates must be poor rather than rich in order to have an advantage in being appointed as a high-ranking civil servant. The parents should be working for welfare service groups rather than in the organs of authority. National talents should not be appointed this way. All government posts will be filled with people who have the same “code.” The current administration’s pledge to “prevent wealth and power from existing together” may be realized, but who will take responsibility for the national loss that follows?

In reality this is such a self-contradictory situation. Several civil servants in this administration have formerly violated the National Security Law. Who among us citizens would understand that while those people are appointed to important government posts, certain others are given disadvantages because of the way their parents’ assets had been acquired? This administration is notorious for having appointed like-minded officials after promising to make “system appointments.” But to institutionalize it as an actual law in addition to all this; we might as well think of this as a move to institutionalize the “verification of ideology.”