(EDITORIAL from the Korea Herald March 16)

With the bitter presidential election marred by scandal and slander now over, what follows is a crucial period of transition that will shape the key policies and initiatives of the new administration led by President-elect Yoon Suk-yeol.

Yoon appointed Ahn Cheol-soo, chairman of the People’s Party, to head the presidential transition committee, an organization that will handle the transition of power from the Moon Jae-in administration.

Ahn’s nomination came as no surprise, as he pulled out of the presidential race at the last minute to declare his support for Yoon. Other key members of the committee include Representative Kwon Young-se as vice-chairman of the committee, former Governor of Jeju Island Won Hee-ryong as head of a planning division, the former Democratic Party of Korea leader Kim Han-gil as leader. of the national unity committee and Kim Byong-joon, former acting leader of the Liberty Korea Party, predecessor of Yoon’s People Power Party, as head of the committee on balanced development.

The transition team will consist of seven permanent sub-commissions, as well as three special commissions on national unity, balanced development and the COVID-19 pandemic.

In particular, the three special committees of the transition team are expected to play important roles envisioned by President-elect Yoon, as the election has laid bare deep-rooted regionalism that could, if not mitigated, make derail many of the new initiatives over the next five years. years.

President Ahn Cheol-soo faces a set of challenges that will shape not only the operations of the transition committee, but also his political career. Speculation is mounting that Ahn, if he handles his job properly, could be named the new administration’s first prime minister.

Ahn’s political fate aside, the stakes are higher than ever. Expectations and concerns about the transition committee are on the rise, as so much friction and antagonism has been exposed during the election, while distrust of politicians and politics in general has also been exposed. increased.

Before the inauguration, Ahn must lead the committee to filter out essential campaign promises and present a clear plan for the new administration, while rejecting unrealistic promises.

On Monday, Ahn outlined the five key tasks facing the new government, with Yoon due to take office on May 10. The tasks are the restoration of fairness, the rule of law and democracy, paving the way for future sources of income and employment, a balanced regional development, the construction of a sustainable nation and l national unity.

The task of balanced regional development deserves particular attention. During the election campaign, Yoon failed to offer a strong vision on balanced development, a sensitive issue that has long divided the nation with opposing ideological camps.

In contrast, Ahn has often stressed the importance of balanced regional development, saying it should be “the spirit of the times”. Ahn is expected to help the transition committee come up with specific measures that will tackle long-standing sources of regionalism amid concerns over unbalanced development.

Ahn’s team must also cautiously approach the fate of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Affairs, another burning controversy that risks accelerating gender disputes. On Sunday, Yoon suggested he would pursue his campaign promise to abolish the ministry in favor of a new state agency to deal with human rights abuses and injustice in society.

But a forceful implementation of the election promise, which has been criticized by civic groups and women voters, could backfire in unexpected ways.

The Presidential Transition Team is asked to come up with viable policy options on key issues for President-elect Yoon – a task too important for the nation’s future to be overlooked.

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