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[Editorial] Appoint or Not? Litmus Test for Roh

Posted November. 15, 2006 03:02,   


At a time when the administration is already trapped in a crisis fueled by threatened national security and a panicking real estate market, President Roh Moo-hyun is just adding to the confusion by sticking to his nomination of Jeon Hyo-sook and Jeong Yeon-ju to head the Constitutional Court and Korea Broadcasting System (KBS), respectively. If he pushes ahead with those appointments, it will undoubtedly trigger a fierce reaction from the already angered public. Only when he breaks away from his obsession, will he be able to restore the public trust, though belatedly, and put the administration back on the right track. At least these two nominations are within his discretion, unlike the security or real estate issues.

The ruling Uri Party is likely to railroad the confirmation for Jeon at today’s National Assembly session. Another partisan clash is likely to occur, as the Grand National Party has pledged to deter the move at all cost, and the Democratic Party has also decided to reject the confirmation. The expected collision will leave severe repercussions in the political circle. President Roh should ask himself if the nation could afford a political impasse.

Jeon resigned from her post of Constitutional Court judge to serve a new 6-year term at the court as the chief justice. As this column has repeatedly argued, this process was wrong in the first place because it was a distortion of the Constitution, which makes it clear that no judge can serve more than six years on the Constitutional Court. Jeon’s acceptance of the wrongful appointment by Cheong Wa Dae is a disqualification for a Constitutional Court judge, let alone the chief justice. If the head of the Constitutional Court doesn’t have justifiable qualifications, all of its future verdicts would be brought into question. Who will take responsibility for the damaged credibility? Jeon should make up her mind, if only to relieve the burden of the president.

The same holds true for Jeong, who was recommended by the board of directors of the KBS. She is so unqualified for the position that the KBS union and employees even filed a lawsuit against the nomination. Public sentiment is unfavorable to her as well. The only reason imaginable for her nomination is a political intention to take advantage of Jeong-led KBS at the next presidential election campaign. The president, who is supposed to ensure fairness at the next presidential election, seems to be incurring blame for partiality.

The public does not need any more empty apologies and pledges to do better. They want actions. If the president has a fraction of concern about the country that he is to head for the next 16 months, he should at least give up on the two nominations.