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Lee, Yoon present blueprint for government overhaul

Posted December. 10, 2021 07:51,   

Updated December. 10, 2021 07:51


With the 2022 presidential election just about three months away, presidential candidates of the ruling and main opposition parties are drawing up blueprints for the next administration’s government structure. Ruling Democratic Party candidate Lee Jae-myung and the main opposition People Power Party candidate Yoon Seok-youl have put forward “division” and “adjustment” as the keywords. Given that the Moon Jae-in administration inaugurated in 2017 without a transition period, a government reorganization has not taken place for almost 10 years, and both candidates propose a complete overhaul to eliminate organizational redundancy.

Lee has repeatedly mentioned he would separate the budgeting function of the Ministry of Economy and Finance. At the last month’s press conference, he criticized the ministry for being authoritative and controlling other departments and agencies to the point of restraining their autonomous policy development capacity. The Democratic Party’s candidate also vowed to change the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family and adjust its role. He also promised an exhaustive overhaul of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Ministry of Science and ICT, two of the most behemoth government agencies.

Meanwhile, Yoon promised to reorganize the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family and restructure its services and budgets. Yoon is also reportedly deliberating on establishment of a new institution exclusively in charge of regulatory reform with the aim of minimizing market regulation that has accumulated over the past decade. Yoon’s camp is also said to advocate for the overhaul of government financial departments and entities to narrow the gap between fiscal policies and monetary policies and enhance policy effects taking the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity.

Prof. Park Hyung-joon of public administration at Sungkyunkwan University said that perfunctory integration and abolishment of government entities cannot bring their members together, nor is it likely to accomplish the intended result of restructuring. “Presidential candidates must refrain from making hollow promises to create the Youth Ministry or the Elderly Ministry to win over certain age groups in the next year’s presidential election,” said Prof. Park.

Ji-Hyun Kim jhk85@donga.com