Published : 2013-01-25 20:21
Updated : 2013-01-25 20:21
President-elect Park Geun-hye has surprised many by nominating Kim Yong-joon, chief of her transition team, to be the first prime minister of her government. But the nomination has clearly shown what values she cherishes most.
One such value is the rule of law. She has repeatedly pledged to handle state affairs in compliance with the law. By nominating Kim, Park probably wanted to show that her pledges were not hollow rhetoric.
Explaining why she picked Kim, 74, who served as a Constitutional Court chief, she said the nominee “has committed himself to establishing law and order while serving as a judge for the better part of his life.”
Park’s emphasis on the rule of law resonates with many as more than a few of President Lee Myung-bak’s friends and aides have made a mockery of the rule of law.
Another value that carries much importance to Park is the protection and empowerment of the underprivileged.
Park noted that the nominee, who also served as a co-chairman of her campaign team for the Dec. 19 election, “has always been on the side of the underprivileged and given hope to people under difficult and trying circumstances.”
Kim commands broad respect as he has overcome his physical handicaps to become one of the nation’s most eminent judges. Kim suffered polio as a child. But the self-made man passed the state bar exam at the age of 19 and became the nation’s youngest judge. He was also the first disabled person to become a Supreme Court justice.
Given Kim’s track record, it is hard to refute Park’s claim that her nominee is “the right person to put the rule of law and principles in place, clear anxieties about public safety, and work for the most vulnerable members of society.”
But the nomination raised questions as to whether Park has chosen the right person to realize her vision of how the government should be run. She has pledged to show a governing style different from those of her predecessors.
In the past, the prime minister played a largely ceremonial role as the president made all the important decisions. Park said she would reset the relationship between the two by delegating much of her power to the prime minister.
Under this plan, the prime minister is supposed to control the Cabinet and administer state affairs in cooperation with ministers. To play this role, the prime minister should have some experience in public administration and be good at handling lawmakers. But Kim has no experience in these fields.
Park tried to ease skepticism about Kim’s qualifications by saying that he has proved his ability to coordinate policies during his service as head of the transition team. We only hope Kim lives up to the expectations from Park as well as the public.