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Park’s transition team still in the making

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Published : 2013-01-01 20:40
Updated : 2013-01-01 20:40

President-elect Park Geun-hye’s transition team is struggling to set sail nearly two weeks after the election, as critics took issue with her lack of communication and verification after her appointments of controversial figures accused of divisive remarks and ethical lapses.

On Monday, Park’s committee chief Kim Yong-joon announced that the transition committee will be comprised of nine subcommittees. They are to be in charge of planning and coordination of state affairs; political affairs; foreign, defense and unification policies; law and social safety; education and science; employment and welfare; women and culture; and two subcommittees dedicated to economic issues.

The former Constitutional Court chief, however, did not release the names of members to join each committee.

“It appears (we) need some time until the designation as the procedure takes time,” said Kim at the press conference.

Party sources said that Park is looking “extremely closely” into each nominee for the committee as well as rank-and-file officials that will be dispatched by each government organization.

The transition team was launched on Dec. 26 for the Lee Myung-bak administration and Dec. 30 for the Roh Moo-hyun government.

With less than two months remaining for the transition team to put the Park government in order before the Feb. 25 inauguration day, observers suggested enacting guidelines to help secure sufficient preparation time and maintain ethicality next time.

“(In the U.S.,) the newly enacted Pre-Election Presidential Transition Act in 2010 enables certain transition services to be provided upon the finalization of an eligible presidential candidate for both parties, instead of upon the election,” said Dr. Park Young-won of the National Assembly Research Service in his report released Dec. 27.

“It is worth reviewing ways to enact such guidelines as ‘transition committee performance guide’ based on the code of ethics for civil servants and others, so that the transition team can use it for reference,” he also suggested.

According to news reports, Park began to search for a manual to form the transition team around the early December but put off the process as she faced her lead being narrowed by rival Moon Jae-in of the Democratic United Party.

By law, a presidential transition committee can have one chief, one deputy chief and up to 24 members to be designated by the president-elect. Relevant ministers including minister for public administration must also provide necessary support such as information and funding for the transition team to operate.

Park’s committee is expected to have around 100 to 150 people in total, including advisers and staff.

Kim, meanwhile, underscored that the transition committee members will not automatically move on to join the Park government, apparently aiming to quell concerns that the transition team may act as the members’ springboard to power.

So far, those joining the transition team include the chief and deputy chief (Rep. Chin Young), chief secretary, spokesperson, head of an administrative team and chairmen of two committees on people’s unity and youth.

Park’s cautious personnel decisions still invited criticism, in particular over the designation of sharp-tongued political commentator Yoon Chang-jung as her senior spokesperson.

Two members of the special committee on youth were also found to have black marks against their names. Neowiz Games CEO Youn Sang-kyu was found to have been involved irregularities in a subcontracting deal and Ecomom Korea president Ha Ji-won was convicted of receiving bribes.

Some party sources suggested Park looks to be taking more time to make follow-up personnel decisions for fear of additional controversies.

By Lee Joo-hee (jhl@heraldcorp.com)

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