South Korea's one-term presidency

Stability and reform must be our constant creed in this era. The two are equally important. Stability without reform means stagnation and lethargy. Reform without stability means unrest and tension. We want neither lethargy nor tension. What we want is the harmonization of stability and reform.

The Korean people place great hopes and expectations in the new political modus operandi for which we are striving. An enormous responsibility has thus been laid on our shoulders. But I am confident that all our political goals can be attained rather easily, if only we bear in mind that politics is not a profession but a vocation.

A politician is given a mandate to serve the nation during the prescribed term of office. In this regard, it is important to remember that a politician must be a thoroughly public-minded person during the prescribed term, rising above all personal interests.

Our constitutional history is full of instances of politicians behaving not as public-minded persons but as self-serving persons who spent practically all their public tenure preparing for the next election. Constitutional crises, political repression, illegal amassing of wealth, influence-peddling, cunning maneuvers to curry favor with the voters, factional infighting -- all these ills stemmed mostly from politicians' obsession with getting reelected. All must realize that the people will never tolerate a National Assembly plagued by such ills.

Accordingly, my conviction is that to achieve clean, honest and fair politics , it will be necessary for all politicians to maintain an attitude in which they will not regret being able to serve only one term thus internalizing a sense of public service.

A new political era is dawning in response to the longing of the people. The 1980s must be recorded in our constitutional history as the landmark period in which democracy was firmly established.

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