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SEOUL, March 26 (Yonhap) -- The ruling Saenuri Party has criticized the Park Geun-hye government for its flip-flops over appointments for top-tier posts. The fact that Saenuri has begun to speak out on state affairs suggests it is moving in the right direction toward becoming a responsible ruling party.
The criticism came on Monday on the heels of the resignation of Han Man-soo, the nominee for chief of the corporate watchdog Fair Trade Commission. Han quit earlier in the day after a local newspaper reported that he evaded taxes by holding a large amount of money in overseas bank accounts. His departure marked the sixth resignation of a person nominated by Park since she was a presidential hopeful last year.
The party's spokesman, Lee Sang-il, said at a press conference, the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae "must feel remorse over how it has vetted personnel ... and the ruling party also feels responsible for the recurring flaws in the president's appointments and apologizes to the nation." The spokesman also called on the presidential office to strictly examine the reasons for the series of resignations and strengthen its personnel vetting system, while punishing those responsible for carelessly selecting personnel.
Since winning the presidential election in December, the party has failed to show an image that portrays it as a ruling party. In the slew of resignations by one nominee after another for ministers and other key posts, the party appeared to be helpless.
The embarrassing resignation of Prime Minister nominee Kim Yong-joon in January was an example. Although the incident was criticized as the outcome of Park's "secretive" and "surprise" personnel management style, the ruling party gave the impression that it tried to read Park's mind on the situation rather than to squarely respond to suspicions over alleged real estate speculation and other ethical lapses.
The series of personnel appointment setbacks could be attributed to Park's airtight personnel management style and the presidential office's running of a poor system for verifying nominees. But it appears that the ruling party cannot pass the buck for them because of its helplessness and irresponsibility in addressing the appointment troubles.
It was also disappointing that the ruling party showed the lack of its own political capabilities to compromise when it locked horns with the opposition party over the passage early this month of Park's government restructuring bill. The ruling party should have taken a flexible approach to its talks with the opposition party while persuading the president to agree to a solution. But it stuck to Park's idea that the bill could not be changed, creating political gridlock that left the new government in limbo and state affairs bogged down for weeks after her inauguration.
It is about time that the ruling party showed its true colors. It needs to give the president full support for the desirable running of state affairs but, as a party who has a majority in parliament, should also act as a check on the president if she goes too far. This could help it eliminate its much-criticized image as a rubber stamp for the presidential office. The job of checking the administration is not limited to the opposition party and does constitute an important task of the ruling party.
It is hoped that the party will be actively involved in communicating with the people and relaying public sentiment to the president and work closely with the opposition on state affairs. If the ruling party fails to carry out what it is supposed to do, the president needs to deal with the public and opposition directly, creating more burdens for herself. It should play the role of checking on the administration properly, which will help the Park government recover from its lackluster start.
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