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Roh’s Personnel Management Challenged

Posted August. 05, 2006 03:14,   


In the wake of the resignation of Education Minister and Vice Prime Minister Kim Byung-joon, Cheong Wa Dae has insisted that the political circles and the media have violated the president’s right to personnel management by leading public sentiment. That remark is now stirring a fierce controversy over the range of president’s right to personnel management.

The ruling and opposite parties and the academic circle have criticized the contention of Cheong Wa Dae by saying that president’s personnel decision is not an absolute right. It is mandated by the people, therefore the president should listen to the voice of the public.

On August 4, lawmaker Moon Byung-ho, the Uri Party policy coordinator, appeared on a radio program of PBC and said that personnel management is not the president`s unique right. That kind of rhetoric dates back to the days of authoritarian governments.

He also argued against the comment of Lee Byung-wan, presidential chief of staff, by saying “The president’s right to personnel management is mandated by the people. So, the president should have an ear to the ground. The presidential chief of staff Lee had asserted, “The president’s personnel decisions should be respected as much as possible. I cannot agree to the criticism of the media that the appointment of the education minister has favored the president’s political code.”

Lawmaker Jang Yoon-seok, Grand National Party human rights commission chairman, pointed out that the remark of Lee Byung-wan is based on false understanding of the constitution and it violates the fact that sovereignty rests with the people. Park Nam-chun, presidential senior secretary for personnel management, countered on the briefing board of the Cheong Wa Dae’s homepage that it is not right for people who are not responsible for personnel decisions to intervene in the process of personnel management decisions.

swpark@donga.com sys1201@donga.com