Monday, December 21, 2009

GOH Kun to head social unity council

Seoul Village 2009 - Today, President LEE Myung-bak officially named GOH Kun head of a 48-member social unity committee (or social integration / 사회통합) to be formed on Wednesday.

This former Mayor of Seoul has been Korea's Head of State but never President, and theoretically will never be : Goh only served as interim leader during ROH Moo-hyun's impeachment process back in 2004. He didn't enter the 2007 Presidential race and officially retired from political life. Besides, Goh will be 74 in 2012...

But after losing former presidents ROH Moo-hyun and KIM Dae-jung*, Korean opposition lacks senior figures, and this man was twice Mayor of Seoul (1988-1990 and 1998-2002) and twice Prime Minister (for the recently departed : in 1997-98 under KIM and in 2003-04 under ROH).

Goh refused twice before accepting Lee's proposal. He is not pledging allegiance to a man, but embracing a noble cause, in explicit "political neutrality" : the council aims at healing political divides which have rather increased than decreased lately, many fingers pointing towards Lee himself.

Appointing opposition figures as heads of consensual committees is a Sarkozish move if I ever saw one, but Goh may actually be given room for manoeuvre : very much like Prime Minister Chung Un-chan was drafted to handle the Sejong City hot potato**, this statesman can implement highly needed changes which could hurt Lee's relationship with his most conservative base. Yes, that may even include a follow up for TRCK recommandations : reconciliation is all about social unity. Bonus : Seoul-born Goh has deep Jeolla-do roots and is totally legitimate to fix Korea's regional divide.

An ambitious program... and don't write that one "MBtious" !

* see "
Kim Dae-jung - the Commander's Statue", "A Yellow Sea for Roh Moo-hyun", "Roh Moo-hyun follows Pierre Beregovoy"
** see "
Sejong City and the beauty of lameduckhood"

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