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Presidential transition committee returns in a decade

Posted March. 10, 2022 08:03,   

Updated March. 10, 2022 08:03


The 20th South Korean president-elect will form a transition committee to ensure smooth transition of power before the inauguration on May 10. The return of a transition committee happens in 10 years considering that incumbent South Korean President Moon Jae-in began his term five years ago without any transition committee involved as he was elected in a by-election following former President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment. While the president-elect prepares for a new government over two months at the helm of the transition committee, a pile of challenges at home and abroad does not allow for any rejoicing over the winning of the presidential election.

How a transition committee is formed and operates is a barometer of a blueprint of governance for the next five years. Once a transition committee is created two to three weeks after the election results are confirmed, it can stay in operation for up to 30 days following the beginning of presidency. Given this, it serves as a breeding ground for a new government by engaging in selecting core national projects, reforming governmental organizations and appointing prime minister and cabinet members. As such, a well-functioned transition committee does not only provide a fresh start to the next administration but also guarantees the success of the five-year term.

Just as election activities and governance work differently, a transition committee is not an election camp. Unlike campaign activities for an election aimed at differentiating from other candidates amid fierce competition, governance should be based upon the principle of appointment with a vision for integration and fairness not only for the president-elect’s supporters, around half the whole population, but also for the remainder of the nation. The starting point is a clear diagnosis of the realities smeared with many imminent challenges and crises. With such a realistic view minus populist pledges and ideologically lopsided slogans, the next administration can redesign a series of missions that can be achieved in 100 days of presidency and, furthermore, within the term.

To this end, an upcoming transition committee should be the first platform to assign the right persons the right roles based on meritocracy not giving credit to an exclusive circle of members. If it consists primarily of those in an election campaign, neither any diagnosis of the status quo nor governance planning will end up with any success. A lesson can be learnt from previous transition committees where old aides and new authority figures conflict over power and poorly designed policies lead to friction and trouble here and there. This is why the president-elect should leave excitement and delight behind swiftly and ponder upon what a transition committee will be like and how it is supposed to work.