Updated May. 24, 2014 06:18
After the nomination for new prime minister on Thursday, former Supreme Court Justice Ahn Dai-hee read a prepared message before reporters at the central government complex in downtown Seoul.
"I have lived my whole life trying to resolve the structural contradictions of our society and clean up corruption since I was a young public prosecutor," he said. "I will try to reform the officialdom and erect upright the basics of our nation and society by eliminating abnormal practices and eradicating corruption."
While stressing the role of a prime minister, Ahn repeatedly emphasized the "eradication of corruption." Judging only by his remarks, he seems resolved enough to become a prosecutor general, rather than a prime minister.
One lawmaker of the ruling Saenuri Party told the Dong-A Ilbo in a telephone conversation, "When I heard Ahn`s message, I thought it was an inauguration speech by a new prosecutor general. Now that he is named prime minister, he should do politics while communicating with the people." The lawmaker`s tone was half hopeful and half concerned.
When Ahn said that he would "devote his everything to erecting the basics of the nation," his voice was noticeably raised. But that was it. After delivering a prepared message, he left the venue of his news conference without answering any questions from reporters. Is it not the same as making a unilateral notification?
Among the public, Ahn has a strong image as the "people`s prosecutor." Many people see in him a swordman who cuts out corruption with confidence. However, he is now a nominee for prime minister. The public would want to see not only a sword-wielding man at the forefront of reform but also the leadership of integration that would stitch up people`s hearts broken by the ferry disaster.
"In order to win the people`s hearts, he should have an attitude of paying attention and listening to the voice of the people," a two-term lawmaker of the ruling party said. He added that Ahn should show his stern leadership on the one hand, while showing the public that he kneels down before the people and make eye contacts not to miss anything from the voices of the underprivileged."
During the rescue process for the ferry sinking disaster, the Park Geun-hye administration came under severe criticism for failing to communicate with the bereaved families of the victims. The situation forced incumbent Prime Minister Chung Hong-won to step down from his post. This is something that Ahn should keep in mind.