President-elect Park Geun-hye finally completed her much-awaited lineup for the transition committee that faces a slew of tasks over the next seven weeks, before the government handover.
Apparently aiming at stability, the transition team is a mixture of experts such as social science professor Yoo Min-bong of Sungkyunkwan University (planning and coordination of state affairs), and key members of Park’s presidential campaign team, such as former Defense Minister Kim Jang-soo (foreign affairs and defense) and Rep. Ahn Chong-bum (employment and welfare).
Of the total, five of the nine representatives and eight of the 13 committee members were professors. Each subcommittee will have a representative to act as a liaison, to be joined by members, all of whom will receive support from some 100 officials and staff.
|Transition committee chief Kim Yong-joon (right) talks with spokesman Yoon Chang-jung during the press conference to announce the names of committee members at the committee headquarters in Samcheong-dong, Seoul, Friday. (Yonhap News)|
A large portion of the members were seen to be from her think tank, with seven of the 22 names Future Research Institute graduates.
They include professors Choi Sung-jae of Seoul National University, Ock Dong-seok of Incheon University and Hong Gi-take of Chung-Ang University.
The inclusion of such lesser-known figures prompted the main opposition Democratic United Party to criticize the personnel decisions as lacking verification and justification.
Park’s long-time aide Lee Jung-hyun joined her secretariat to take charge of political affairs. He had been her chief communications man during the presidential election. Professor Byun Choo-suk of Kookmin University’s College of Design, who had been in charge of Park’s public relations during the campaign, was renamed to assist her in the secretariat.
“The transition committee’s purpose is to prepare for a smooth launch of the new government by devising state philosophy that will set the direction of the new administration and drafting the policy basis,” committee chief Kim Yong-joon said at a press conference.
One of the first tasks for the transition team is to help the president-elect select her prime minister and the members of the Cabinet. While Park’s secretariat is expected to mainly take charge of the selection, the transition team is also expected to provide support in verification.
The committee will also comb through the pledges that Park made during the presidential election and prioritize them.
Park made a total of 201 pledges in 20 different categories including welfare, economic democratization, education, diplomacy and inter-Korean relations.
Helping Park grasp the current state situation is also the work of the transition team, which will be joined by delegates of each government organization.
The transition team will also be in charge of drawing up the blueprint for the new government by adjusting the organizations and prioritizing policies to tackle the sluggish economic outlook, low employment, tension with Pyongyang, strained relations with neighboring countries, and balancing financial stability with wider promises of welfare.
The launch of Park’s transition team has been delayed by around 10 days compared to preceding governments, but party sources said they expected to see few setbacks considering the cooperative relations between the outgoing and incoming administrations.
Her personnel decisions hit a glitch following controversies of some of her earlier choices, including her senior spokesman Yoon Chang-jung and two members of the special committee on youth. Yoon has been rapped for being unfit for the job due to his politically partisan comments as a commentator in the past, while the other two have been involved in irregularities.
The president-elect has a busy schedule ahead, as the bill on any changes to the government organizations must be passed by the National Assembly by the end of this month, while her prime minister must undergo a hearing by Feb. 10 and other members of the Cabinet, by Feb. 20. The inauguration of her administration is slated for Feb. 25.
By Lee Joo-hee (firstname.lastname@example.org