The member selection of the presidential transition committee has been completed, including the appointment of chiefs and spokesperson for seven standing subcommittees. The transition committee held a signboard-hanging ceremony today and officially started its duties. From today, the team will take over the organization and budget of the incumbent administration and lay the groundwork for building a policy agenda for the new administration until May 9, the inauguration day. Selecting cabinet appointees and Cheong Wa Dae personnel, including the prime minister, and vetting potential appointees are also the committee’s task. With 53 days to go, how well the transition committee prepares for the new administration will determine the next five years of the Yoon Seok-youl administration.
“The selection of the committee members took expertise in their field as the foremost qualification,” Ahn Cheol-soo, the head of the transition committee, commented on the composition of the transition committee. Twelve out of 24 members are either incumbent or former professors, and public officials having much administrative experience in relevant fields and private experts are among the selectees. However, emphasizing meritocracy as the key principle, the transition team has fallen short of diversity and inclusion; only four out of 24 members are female, accounting for a mere 16.7 percent. No member who could represent the voice of people in 20s and 30s has been included in the team, which is disappointing, given that President-elect Yoon worked hard to win the hearts of the youth during the campaign. When filling positions within the transition team, this must be considered.
The transition team faces supra-partisan tasks to overcome the barriers of political divide. Amid the intensifying hegemonic conflict between the United States and China and between the United States and Russia and North Korea’s escalating and provocative missile tests, the Yoon administration has to handle the COVID-19 pandemic and urgently revitalize the economy. Furthermore, the new administration has to work with the National Assembly where the opposition party is accounting for a majority of seats. However meticulously policies are designed, without close coordination and communication, they will not be effective. This is the reason that the transition committee needs to focus on devising a supra-partisan policy vision, which could gain the sympathy of both the ruling and opposition parties.
As it is highly likely that members of the transition committee will take critical positions in the new administration, war of nerves or power struggle may arise within the committee. In the past, some members of a presidential transition committee took advantage of their position to accrue personal benefits and went on a power trip over others. In the event such unfortunate incidents do occur, voters will be disappointed, and the transition team will be distracted. In the face of national crisis, President-elect Yoon and Transition Committee Chairman Ahn Cheol-soo should focus on the transition process, and they must stick to their original intention that they will serve their people and the future of the nation.