It was very sad to watch Prime Minister nominee Moon Chang-keuk withdraw his nomination. Moon wanted an opportunity to explain all kinds of accusations against him at his confirmation hearing at the National Assembly. However, he could not resist the pressure to resign, and had to withdraw voluntarily. A video clip cut out of context from a past lecture at a church suddenly turned him, a grandson of an independence fighter against Japan, into a Japanese collaborator.It will be interesting to see how the confirmation hearings for other nominees for Cabinet will dig up material to grind their honor into the ground. After all, for any nominees for the Cabinet, what matters is not their career records or abilities, but whether or not they can pass their confirmation hearings without too much trouble. I think it was a good choice for the time being to reinstate current Prime Minister Chung Hong-won, who has already passed the confirmation hearing.
All of these things happen because there is a fundamental problem within the democratic system. I think Korea is the only country that has a president and a prime minister. A prime minister is the head of a government in a parliamentary system and a president is the head of a government in a presidential system. Abe is not a president but a prime minister, because Japan has a parliamentary system, and Obama is not a prime minister but a president, because the U.S. has a presidential system.
The U.S. has a vice president instead of a prime minister, and the people elect the vice president as a running mate. Because the people directly elect the vice president, Congress would not dare demand a confirmation hearing. Therefore, if we also adopt a vice presidential system, we will not need a parliamentary confirmation hearing for the prime minister. Such confirmation hearings only divide public opinion, waste time, and leave deep scars in many hearts. Even though there is a great backlog of urgent bills to be passed, at the confirmation hearings National Assembly members put all their energy into smearing the nominees from outside their own party, and the government goes adrift with empty seats in the Cabinet. This why we should adopt a vice presidential system. I believe that having a vice president would cost less than having a prime minister.
President Park has achieved brilliant results in economic diplomacy, traveling the world, but the domestic scene is a disaster: the Sewol tragedy, the failure to find Yoo Byung-eun, the Sgt. Lim incident, etc.
In addition, there is the alleged embezzlement of staff salaries by a National Assembly member and an allegation that a Seoul City councilor hired a contract killer. If these claims prove to be true, the party nomination system, which allowed those people to be nominated, is also to blame. The system was originally intended for political parties to select good candidates on behalf of people who did not have enough knowledge to nominate the right candidates, but it has indirectly caused these ridiculous results.
Watching events unfold around the July by-elections, the election seems to be a fight between political parties, like a chess match to decide which candidates for which districts. The parties seek only to pursue their own interests and care only about the number of seats they get. It does not seem so important to them to find the right candidate for the residents of a district. Thus, the vicious cycle of recruiting and recycling big name politicians naturally continues. With the way things are, how can we have new, fresh, young candidates elected for public offices? I think now is the time to return party nomination power to local residents.
A presidential candidate should select a capable person that he or she likes as his or her running mate in a presidential election, and share their political fates together. The vice president will have more inspiration to run for president in the next election only if the president is successful; the vice president becomes a political partner who puts every effort into helping the president and to making the administration successful. It is too difficult for the president alone to deal with all the complex issues alone.
This also would stop some people from criticizing the president unreasonably for having a different opinion, and it would stop senseless demands that a president elected by the people should resign.
If the president resigns now, will they have another election to have a president whom they like? Elected by the people, a vice president can also become a shield for the president, and can speak his or her mind without hesitation and reprehend ministers on behalf of the president. In these complex times, a president badly needs a political partner to share their political fates.