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It’s all about unity

May 12,2017
President Moon Jae-in has named Governor of South Jeolla Lee Nak-yon as his first prime minister. If approved, Lee would become the second person from the Jeolla region to fill that spot after Kim Hwang-sik, who served as the last prime minister under President Lee Myung-bak. The appointment underscores Moon’s promise for a balanced cabinet. Im Jong-seok, tapped as his chief of staff, is 51-year-old student activist-turned-lawmaker from Jeolla province. It is also bold to recruit a young person he has not been closely associated with so far as his top aide. The opposition therefore should focus questions on policy views and conviction instead of trying to find personal faults with the nominees in confirmation hearings.

Moon in his first batch of appointments suggested he would exclude traditional loyalists and instead prize pragmatism and expertise in recruitment. The average age of cabinet members is expected to be in the 50s, a marked drop from the past. We hope he will keep up the practice to fend off controversy over favoritism and create a functioning administration throughout his five-year term. Moon was elected through a vote of slightly over 40 percent, and the ruling Democratic Party commands just 120 seats in the legislative, far short of the 180-seat threshold to get any policy bill and decision past parliament. He must stay consistent with his balanced and pragmatic appointment policy to run administration smoothly, regardless of any shortcomings. His engagement effort would persuade the other parties to cooperate and support his policies.

We want to see Moon recruit people not only from the left, but also from the center and right. There are many able people in the conservative front in the areas of economics and foreign affairs. This way, Moon can bring unity to a country divided by the previous president’s impeachment.

In his inaugural speech, Moon pledged not to be an overbearing and highhanded president, but would mingle and talk with the people constantly. He called the opposition his governing partner and promised to serve all the people to earn trust from those who had not voted for him. Moon said he would personally brief key affairs to the press and talk to ordinary citizens on his way home from work. He will hold public hearings in the open plaza in downtown Seoul to keep his eyes and ears open all the time.

His words brought a refreshing hope to the people who have been frustrated throughout the last four years due to an incommunicative president. We hope Moon will be true to his word and become the president he has promised to be, a rare president in Korea who retires with applause from the people.

JoongAng Ilbo, May 11, Page 34