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Professor Says Roh “Betrayed Public”

Posted February. 24, 2007 07:15,   


Chi Myung-gwan (photo), an 83-year-old chair professor at Hallym University who served as the chief of the preparation committee for President Roh Moo-hyun’s inauguration speech in 2003, harshly criticized the president yesterday, saying, “President Roh makes the people frustrated over the presidential system.” Staying in the United States, Chi said in a telephone interview with the Dong-A Ilbo on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of President Roh’s inauguration that, “There is nothing that President Roh has done right as head of state,” sarcastically adding, “President Roh’s greatest contribution to the country is that he has increased the skepticism of the presidential system among the public.”

He said, “The public voted for the president’s camp, expecting to see a ‘cool president’ who serves the public, but President Roh completely betrayed them,” adding, “[President Roh] has tried to appoint his close associates, rather than appointing those whom the public wants. He has also failed to exercise his mandate as president.”

He said, “It would have been so good if President Roh became a truly non-authoritative president by serving and communicating with the people. But the president has failed to do so and was abandoned by the people.”

Regarding the president’s conduct of state affairs, he said that the president “is doing things as he likes, whether it be North Korea policy, domestic politics or appointment of officials. And public opinion and the opposition parties manage to check such moves,” adding, “The public now worries what the president will do tomorrow.”

He argued, “A president should be respected by the public, but President Roh is despised. In this regard, President Roh has destroyed the presidential system.”

Chi wrote for the liberal Japanese monthly magazine “Sekai” under an alias in the 1970s and 80s to let the world know about the situation in Korea under authoritarian rule. He also stirred controversy in 2003 when he completed his term as chairman of the board of the directors at KBS by arguing that Cheong Wa Dae intervened in appointing the president of the broadcasting company.