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Past Administrations Were Not Trouble-free Either

Posted August. 23, 2008 07:40,   


Lee Myung-bak won a landslide victory with a margin of 5.31 million votes in the presidential election in December last year. Immediately after his inauguration, however, he faced a series of challenges such as surging oil and raw material prices, a worsening economy, and general elections held four months after the presidential election.

The Kim Dae-jung administration launched in 1998 also suffered from a lack of qualified officials and monetary resources early on. The Asian financial crisis, however, served as an unexpected chance for the government to encourage Koreans to unite and cooperate.

Five years ago, the Roh Moo-hyun administration pushed its policies with support from the Gyeongsang provinces, where Roh was born; the Jeolla provinces, the power base of the then ruling party; the Chungcheong provinces, where Roh wanted to move the capital; big fans of Roh, left wingers and Internet media.

The Kim Young-sam administration, Korea’s first civilian government launched in 1993, controlled the ruling party and rapidly pushed long-awaited reform measures such as asset disclosure by senior government officials, dismantlement of "Hanahoe," a group of senior military officials, and introduction of the real-name financial transaction system.

Each of the past governments made mistakes, however. Under President Kim Young-sam, his son Hyun-chul intervened in personnel management and state affairs. The Kim Dae-jung administration incited internal conflicts since it favored officials from the Jeolla provinces and pressed forward the sunshine policy of engaging North Korea. President Roh Moo-hyun was troubled by partial politics, anti-corporate sentiment and populism.

The ruling party believes the future of the Lee administration depends on overcoming a lack of communication, criticism over personnel management and inconsistent policies.